HOCO is back

Full-slate of activities, traditions to return post pandemic


Photo courtesy of Valerie Benzinger.

Editor’s note: Additional reporting for this story provided by Mauricio Bravo

The Student Council will bring back all the school’s homecoming traditions with events planned from Oct. 17-23, including the dance, the parade and “Chalk The Walk.” 

Last year’s COVID-19 restrictions forced most homecoming activities to be canceled or altered, leaving the Student Council devastated. Senior Keira Conner, student body president, said last year’s experiences gave StuCo that drive to want to make everything stronger and better this year.

“After hearing and seeing last year, how those years felt, we just don’t want to take anything for granted because you don’t know what could happen,” student body vice president Trang Vo said. “So we’re just enjoying it while it’s here.” 

Saturday, Oct. 23, will be the homecoming dance. StuCo chose to hire “really great party DJs” from DFW Pro DJs, the company the school has worked with for prom in the past, according to Allison Stamey, student activities director and senior class sponsor. This year’s dance will feature a pair of DJs.

“We just decided that putting more budget into great music would be more of a great time than if someone walked in and had thousands and thousands of dollars worth of decorations,” Stamey said. “Because you can have great decorations, but if you have horrible music, no one has fun.” 

Because of safety and security concerns from administration, the number of tickets for the dance will be limited. Only 700 students from the main campus will be able to attend, with an additional 150 students each from both 9-10 campuses. 

“As assistant principals, they have to look for safety,” Stamey said. “We had an episode a few years ago where someone slammed a door, and someone screamed out, something that was a bad ordeal. It scared a lot of people. So they want it to be manageable where if something is unsafe, they can manage the safety of the students.”

Also returning to homecoming week is Wednesday’s parade, a tradition that dates back to 1950. Around 5:15 p.m., the floats will line up on Cowan. The Parade will start around 6 p.m. in Old Town. Following the parade, a community pep rally will be held at 7:15 p.m. on the steps of City Hall. The next day will feature Thursday Night Yell immediately following the freshman football game. 

“The drum line shows up, some cheerleaders show up, the boneheads show up, and we practice chants and cheers for the Rowdy Crowd for our homecoming game,” Stamey said. “It’s really fun if you’ve never been. The drum line’s playing, we’re hyping all the kids up because we want to beat Coppell for homecoming. It’s really fun if you choose to come out. The first Thursday Night Yell was huge. We had a good time doing it.” 

On Friday there is going to be a pep rally during the school day in the arena, and that night the homecoming court will be presented at the game, concluding with the crowning of the King and Queen. Stamey said the presentation will occur during halftime, “a big change from years’ past.”

“We have a volleyball member on the court and she has a game, so we’re going to do the homecoming court at halftime and then the hall of fame [before the game],” Stamey said. “We’re flip-flopping them. Hall of Fame is where our alumni are recognized from years and years of service.” 

Homecoming festivities begin on Sunday, Oct. 17 from 2-6 p.m. when the Student Council and volunteers meet at the school in the afternoon to decorate the hallways. 

“So, then on Monday when the student body comes in, it’s like, ‘Wow, it’s homecoming,’” Stamey said. “You can actually tell that there’s something going on.”

Tuesday will follow with “Chalk the Walk” after school in front of the main campus. Stamey said chalk will be provided. And of course, special dress-up days will be designated for each day of homecoming week.

All three campuses are getting ready for the big week. Harmon freshman class president Luca Bella Francis gave some insight into what she and her fellow students are working on at her campus. 

“Right now, we’re making signs and posters for around the school, in the hallways that have to do with the theme of our homecoming float, and we’re making designs and posters for the float,” said Francis, who has also been selected for homecoming court. “We’re decorating the school and the halls right now. We’re making it fabulous.” 

StuCo leadership has high hopes for students getting involved more this year since last year, due to COVID, they had to cancel many events. In addition to homecoming, Student Council is also planning other events, including a new dance in January, the Hype Party, for juniors and seniors only. The non-formal event will feature the same DJs from prom and homecoming, but at a lower price due to fewer decorations.

“After homecoming, that’s a lot for us, but once we get into January, we don’t have that much going on since it is a new year,” Trang said. “So we’re hoping that the Hype Party gets everyone hyped up for the spring because usually people lose motivation in the second semester. So hopefully that just brings up everyone’s morale.”

Conner said she believes this year will be promising for StuCo, despite the amount of work required for all the events the group has planned.

“It’s not a big deal,” Conner said. “I wouldn’t stress on the small stuff. It’s high school, you know. We’re going to do our best, and our best is all that we need.”