"My God's not dead He's surely alive He's living on the inside roaring like a lion..." (2012 "God's not Dead" by the Newsboys).
Last Friday, Yosemite High students and members of the New Life Christian Fellowship, community members, parents and YHS staff let their spirits roar as they came together to participate in the second annual CrossWalk to commemorate the Good Friday walk of Jesus Christ and the cross He carried to His death.
Carrying handmade posters "God's not dead," a large banner that read "Catch a fire for God come check out the New Life Club at YHS," smaller crosses and a large 50-pound wooden cross, the 40 or so participants sang Christian songs or prayed in silence, as they walked slowly across the school campus.
"This is an awesome way to show the community that God has not been excluded from the schools," New Life Club adviser Ellen Peterson said. "No man-made walls can exclude God."
"There is nothing illegal about worshipping God in schools," Peterson explained. "There are real clear constitutional guidelines that say I can't do that, but the students can. Part of the guidelines is that there is no prayer during instructional time. That's why these students gave up their lunch hour for the walk. This is their choice New Life is a student-led religious organization."
Sophomores Rebecca Dolzadelli and friend Alex Simpson walked tall and proud as they sang loudly and raised their hands in praise.
"I think it's awesome," Dolzadelli said, "that we can walk around campus, be ourselves and not be afraid to show our faith."
Nathaniel Schlepp, also a sophomore, waited quietly to express himself.
"I almost didn't come today because of peer pressure," he said. "My friends are atheists. For all of us not to succumb to peer pressure, to show courage in our faith and beliefs it's a beautiful thing." He then somberly turned and quietly walked away, lost in thought.
"God said deny me in front of your friends and I'll deny you when you're at the foot of my cross," another sophomore Amethyst Wages added. "I've grown in my faith this past year, and this is just another example of expressing that faith on campus."
Kim Nunes, the mother of one of New Life's student leaders, Korey, joined in the walk not only in support of her son, but the club, as well.
"I think it's great that these kids believe in God," she said. "They should pass the word around. God's not dead ... He's alive and living in our hearts."
Thomas Miller, a 2013 YHS graduate, came up with the idea of the CrossWalk last year.
"It gets the idea across of what Christ actually did in a very visual way," Miller said. " By doing this, our hope is to get people thinking and asking questions about Jesus and what the cross symbolizes."
Good Friday is the day when Christians worldwide commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The crucifix, or cross, is an important symbol. Other symbols of Good Friday include black cloth which is used to cover the cross, paintings and statues in churches to signify mourning.