Students end football season with FOCO

A new tradition is created due to homecoming being cancelled


PHOTO COURTESY OF Kassidy Whitmire

SMILE AND POSE: Seniors Kassidy Whitmire and Ryan Kinney are posing downtown for a FOCO photo shoot. While they were trying to take FOCO pictures there was also a group taking a maternity shoot that they had to share the space with.

Callie Payne, Pop Culture Editor

Typically during the homecoming season, students become excited for football games in the cold, designing mums, and dressing up for the traditional homecoming dance.

However, things looked very different this year. Since the homecoming dance was canceled due to COVID-19, students took things into their own hands and created FOCO (fake homecoming) dances and get-togethers.

Senior Rachel Todd decided to participate/host in FOCO activities since she did not want to miss out on her last homecoming just because of the pandemic.

“I have pictures from freshman through junior year at Bowie and I didn’t want to leave senior year out,” Todd said. “Even though I was disappointed when [students] found out we were not going to have HOCO, I was pretty much already prepared for that answer. It was obviously saddening because senior homecoming has been something I have looked forward to for a while now but I understand that the school was trying to keep everyone safe.”

In order to follow COVID-19 guidelines, such as social distancing, students participated in FOCO in small groups with their friends.

“My friends and I really wanted to have a senior year experience like homecoming but we also wanted to be safe at the same time,” senior Kassidy Whitmire said. “My friends and I decided to go to dinner and take pictures downtown to celebrate homecoming. Afterward, we hung out at a friend’s house so we could continue the fun night safely.”

Even though homecoming was not held this year, the traditional homecoming football game occurred on Friday, October 30.

“I was happy that there was a football game for homecoming because that makes things feel a lot more normal,” Todd said. “The crowds weren’t that full like normal obviously but I was able to hang out with some of my friends while watching and supporting the football team which was cool. Honestly, I am just glad we were still able to go to football games safely because experiencing them is like nothing else.”

Although some students were eager to participate, some decided not to at all for a multitude of different reasons.

“I can see why some people didn’t want to do FOCO because you don’t get to see everyone dress up and you don’t have a dance to go to,” Todd said. “I think some people would rather wait until things can be normal again to participate in things like homecoming and I honestly don’t blame them. It can be a lot of work to plan and to make it safe so it is definitely easier to not do it at all.”

A trend on the social media app called TikTok that emerged because of FOCO was where people would video themselves before and after their FOCO transformation. This trend was amongst many others that showed the different things teenagers did for FOCO.

“I always enjoy making funny Tik Toks with my friends so I was excited to do one for homecoming,” Whitmire said. “I don’t think I actually ended up posting one because I totally forgot but my friends did end up getting some fun ones for their accounts.”

Since FOCO is mainly for the students, teachers were not able to participate in this year’s homecoming.

“As long as students made sure to take proper safety precautions by socially distancing and wearing masks then I see nothing wrong with the idea,” coach Solomon Perdue said. “My heart goes out to the senior class of 2021 and what they are going through this year in terms of finishing out their last year of high school. Seniors should be celebrated for what they have accomplished in their four years at Bowie, therefore, attempting to achieve a sense of normality by having a fake homecoming is very understandable.”

According to Active, the tradition of a high school homecoming dance has been around for over 100 years.

“I have always enjoyed homecoming because it is not every day that you see everyone at school dress up,” Todd said. “I think my favorite part would have to be after homecoming, my friend group always does something super fun after. I am definitely bummed out that we couldn’t have one this year but I realize it is for the best.”

This new way to celebrate homecoming became popular across the nation and many students use the hashtag FOCO when posting their pictures.

“It was so fun to dress up with my friends, it had been so long I couldn’t even remember the last time I had worn a dress,” Todd said. “Overall, I am glad we ended up doing [FOCO] because even though this wasn’t how I expected my senior homecoming to look like, we made the best out of it and had a blast.”