Senior Assassins 2021: Eliminating the competition


Andrew Kerley

A timeline of the senior assassins competition.

At the end of high school, after all of the hard work, students may find themselves participating in a large, celebratory game. Every year, seniors get together and organize an event known as “Senior Assassins.” It is a large-scale elimination war that can last weeks or more than a month. This year, despite the distance and hybrid learning divide, students have once again worked to continue the tradition. Now with some new rules, more than  70 students are competing for the title of Senior Assassins Champion.

What is Senior Assassins?

The game doesn’t operate by itself. Typically, it is run by seniors exclusively, and this year, that leadership mantle was headed by senior Alexis Bonfield. 

“I decided to do it because I know that a lot of people wanted to participate in it this year,” Bonfield said. “No one else was running it, so I was just like, ‘Screw it, I’ll do it myself.’ It’s completely student-led. I think that it brings people together, so I thought it’d still be fun to do it this year, even with everything going on.”

Assassins isn’t just a loose idea; there are plenty of rules and management going on behind the scenes. In the beginning weeks, participants can only eliminate their assigned target. If they are unable to do so by the end of the week, they are placed on the “bounty list,” composed of names that can be eliminated by anyone, regardless of their target. 

“Basically, it is a glorified game of tag, and with water guns,” Bonfield said. “Everyone is assigned a target that they have to eliminate. At the same time, players have to be doing the safety every day, which is like a small challenge that makes you invincible. It changes every day. For example, [on] the first day, everyone had to do the macarena. This past weekend, you had to stand within arm’s length of an underclassman. Yesterday, we had to run around the track with a balloon. It was pretty funny seeing everyone do it and sending their pictures in.”

The safeties are a big highlight for the participants, adding depth and challenge to the game. With it lasting many weeks, a lot of creative energy is needed to come up with the challenges.

“A couple of my friends helped pick the safeties,” Bonfield said. “We have this little online wheel spinner that we put a bunch of safeties on. Then we spin it.” 

As the game goes on, the difficulty of the safeties gets steeper. Early in the game, a participant would expect to be doing fairly simple tasks like carrying around a doll or doing dance moves, such as “Whip & Nae Nae” or “Macarena” day. As the start of Senior Experience draws closer, challenges become more complicated. On the 19th day, participants were required to go to the school’s pool and do push-ups, and on the 23rd day, they had to dress up like a cat while pretending to be one. 

“The prize money this year is $355.02,” Bonfield said. “It’s pretty competitive, but I think it is a good, fun, little game to do right before we all graduate.” 

Eliminations & Close Calls

With all of the safety challenges and constant vulnerability, it can take a toll on the participants’ mindset. While there are “safe zones,” they only extend to school, homes, cars and workplaces. Even being in a safe zone is risky — it is easy to get ambushed or trapped.

“If you are literally walking home, you’re not safe,” participant Cassio Boyd said. “In the parking lot, you’re not safe. At your own house, really, you’re still not safe. You’re constantly worried. I know I’m super paranoid. I have absolutely no clue who has me as their target and it’s nerve-racking.” 

Until the 16th day, Boyd was completely unmatched by anyone, sitting comfortably at three eliminations of other students. To get to such a position takes a whole lot of sneaking around and amateur espionage. 

“When we left, we saw Alex Orli dropping off some friends,” Boyd said. “We took a shortcut to her house and parked further down from the street. I got out and I hid behind one of the cars. When Alex pulled up, I tried to get her, but she saw me through one of the windows of the car. It was kind of just a stalemate for a while. She tried to book it into her house, but she left her safety in the car. I got her while she was running. For Nora Wien-Herman], I asked her to drive me to Senior Skip Day and I got to when we left the car. I feel really bad that I took advantage of her. I got her when she wasn’t paying attention, you know, she let her guard down.”

Otter Kammer, also a participant, took on a similar strategy, even making it to the top ten.

“I’m very proud of one where my friend Helix was on the bounty list,” Kammer said. “Basically, I tricked him into coming to see me. I was at work and was going to ‘return the books that I had borrowed from him,’ and give him something to eat. He comes over and I give him his book. I was messing around behind the counters and he couldn’t see what I was getting. I pulled out my water gun and shot him square in the torso.”

The participants’ creativity has led to a lot of interesting situations, even car chases.

“My best elimination by far was my first target, Carson Ruth,” participant Chris Jennings said. “I knew he worked at Chick-Fil-A, but I didn’t know when his hours were or what days he was working. Luckily, he had posted on his Snapchat story with a photo of him in his Chick-fil-A uniform, so after school, I went to check and make sure his car was there.” 

You can’t get someone out while they’re on the job, it has to be before or afterward. Jennings waited until right before they closed. Unfortunately, Ruth wasn’t there. Feeling disheartened, knowing he would have to go back every day and check, Jennings took the long way home.

 “Suddenly, I see Carson Ruth at an intersection in his car, driving the other way. As he drove by, I went to follow him. I take a U-turn hoping he doesn’t see me, but then the next light turns on, and I think I’ve lost him. About to give up, I go back to the circle again. Sure enough, there he is in the parking lot in his car, talking to one of his co-workers. I pull in and go around the parking lot to make it seem like I’m seeing him completely by chance. I go, ‘Oh my god Carson, what’s up!’ He gets out of his car, and you can’t eliminate someone in their car, so I had to wait. He gets out, we’re dabbing each other up, I pull out the water gun, and take him out. I had a ton of adrenaline in me, I could not believe the whole sequence,” Jennings explained.

The safeties are not actually required. Participants like Chris Boling have managed to survive without doing the majority of the safeties, making risky getaways in the process.

“There’s this person named Jenna Holiday, and she’s pretty on top of this game,” Boling said. “She has a friend who’s also in the game and lives across the street from me. They were hiding in the driveway so I had to run away from my home down a hill. They didn’t get me so they sat on my lawn.”

Boling was originally planning to just go home quickly and grab something to eat, for he had a vaccine appointment to go to. Knowing he wouldn’t have been able to make the appointment, he considered turning himself in and letting them eliminate him. Boling escaped using a nearby trail behind his house.

“Completely by chance, my friend Kevin was at the 7-11 nearby. We drove down the hill and stopped in the middle of the street, right next to my car. I got out of the passenger side and quickly got into my car before I left.”


Participants were asked whether or not they felt they were “in it to win it.”

“I think so, but I’m being overconfident,” Boyd said. “My first three eliminations really got to my head. I’m just a little worried that I will slip up and let my guard down. I hope I win since I’ve been super careful.”

Shocked and betrayed, Boyd would later be struck down by a friend, and now enemy, Otter Kammer. 

“I mean, I hope I win,” Kammer said. “I know whose target I am right now and I’m not on the bounty list, which I’m very happy about. I’m basically just hoping to outlast the other people still in the game.”

Kammer would go on to just barely make it into the final ten before being demoted to tenth place.

“I think I have a decent chance,” Jennings said. “Obviously it’s not all that likely, but I’m pretty careful about it. I’m out for blood, I want that cash prize.”

After obtaining a staggering four eliminations, Jennings would be lost in the massacre of May 18th, better known as “Cat Day.” The carnage continued with the increase in “purge days”, on which there are no safety challenges for students to hide behind.

“I guess I’m in it to win it,” Boling said. “I haven’t put a lot of effort into it. They’re doing a lot more risky safeties, so my time might end pretty soon. I’m assuming they’re gonna do a lot more purge days, which is fine because I was doing the safeties anyway.”

Boling’s unique strategy paid off, getting him into the final ten survivors with only a single elimination under his belt.

“Honestly it’s super fun,” Boyd said. “Even if I don’t win, I’m just glad that I had this experience. I would recommend it to anyone — you’ve got nothing to lose other than five bucks. It’s nice to have this as your reward after years of high school.”