These Payson students could have slept in for an extra hour Wednesday morning.
They could have spent those 60 minutes watching television, chatting with friends or just goofing off.
Instead, they prayed. And sang. And wept. And prayed some more for their families, their friends, their teachers, themselves and, mostly, for those whose lives have been devastated by last week's terrorist attacks on America.
And they were not alone.
These 75-or-so Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School students were joined by millions of other young people across the nation who were participating in the annual student-initiated and student-led movement known as "See You at the Pole."
"This has been going on every year, every third Wednesday in September, since 1990," said Payson High School junior Kelly Hageman, one of the event's local organizers and promoters. "It really helps to lift up the whole school at the beginning of the school year, I think."
Especially this year, at this time, Hageman said.
"It has grown immensely. The first year, there was probably less than half of what we had today," he said. "A lot of it has to do with the crisis, of course, but I think also we've been working on (promoting) it by talking to our friends and inviting them to our Bible studies. We've made an impact."
See You at the Pole started in the small town of Burleson, Texas, in 1990, with just a single youth group. By the year 2000, more than 2 million young people met for SYATP in all 50 states of the U.S. There were also reports from countries on six continents, including Australia, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, and Swaziland.
"This prayer time shows me that I am not alone in Christ on my campus," Hageman said. "It helps to encourage me throughout the day to walk with the Lord, and to know that I am surrounded by fellow believers."