Spirit Weeks and “FOCO”: The Official and Unofficial Ways the School is Handling Homecoming During COVID


Lina Pieterse

From left to right: freshman David Lichtenwalner, freshman John Watkins, freshman Connor Scott, freshman Gabriela Pieterse, freshman Kendyll Sicchitano, freshman Audrey Van Vuuren.

Isabella Dudley-Flores, Staff Writer

Homecoming: the Friday football game followed by a Saturday night of dressing up, snapping pictures, eating out and dancing until your feet hurt. It’s the classic start to a new school year.

Because of COVID-19, the event looked a bit different.

Instead of a party and a spirit week leading up to the dance, the school opted to only do the latter, which was Junior Class Council President Ambuja Sharma’s alternative idea.

They had two weeks of dress-up days. Some themes included “PJ day” and “Vine vs TikTok.”

Student Council sponsor and English Department Chair Michelle Rice said Sharma led the charge to make sure homecoming still happened.

“We are trying to make the best of the situation,” Rice said prior to the first week of homecoming events.

Sharma and a group of around 30 students oversaw homecoming. They wanted to give a warm welcome to students who recently switched from virtual learning to in-person.

“Our goal with this plan was to engage students that were coming back to school for the first time,” said Sharma over text.

Sharma said during the first week of events that she knew what the school was putting on was not really a homecoming but added that she hoped students enjoyed themselves anyway.

At the beginning of the year, student council came up with other plans, such as the possibility of a drive-in movie, but Sharma said those ideas were scrapped due to FCS restrictions on gatherings.

Despite an unconventional homecoming, “I think overall, it’ll still be a fun event,” Sharma said.

On Oct. 19, the theme was “PJ Day.” Sharma said she saw about 50% of students participate.

The abrupt switch to online learning from Tuesday through Thursday interrupted the dress-up day schedule, though.

“Spirit week was put on hold – we didn’t really have a spirit day on Friday,” said Sharma.

In addition to participating in spirit days, some students decided to have their own “fake homecoming,” also known as “FOCO.”

Freshman Gabriela Pieterse is one of these students.

On Oct. 17, she and a group of 14 friends dressed up, went to California Pizza Kitchen and then to one of their houses.

“We hung out quite a bit during quarantine, so we were comfortable with not having masks on and being around each other,” she said.

“[‘FOCO’] made up for my homecoming,” Pieterse said.

Abby Hollinsworth, junior, also did ‘FOCO’ with friends.

They went to a fancy restaurant called Milton’s and then took pictures.

When it came to safety, Hollinsworth was very cautious.

“I was actually really worried because there’s still a pandemic. We took our masks off for pictures — which I didn’t like — but I kept [my mask] on the rest of the time,” Hollinsworth said.

Despite her worries about the pandemic, Hollinsworth said she had fun.

She also said her ‘FOCO’ didn’t take much planning, especially since she did something similar last year.

Sharma said she’s happy to see people putting a twist on the event themselves and still having fun, though, like Hollinsworth, she has her doubts regarding safety.

“I think ‘FOCO’ is a great way to still have that traditional homecoming feel, without actually having a dance,” said Sharma.

“I definitely understand the appeal of ‘FOCO,’ but I think we need to be a bit more careful.”

Regarding spirit weeks, Sharma said she thinks it’s a good way to stay safe but still have a celebration.

“We knew it was a bummer that we can’t have our traditional dance, so we tried to do something that was a little unique but still fun,” she said.