Assassinate away: Why the age-old game must stay

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by Julia Harris, Staff Reporter It’s 6 a.m. on a typical weekday in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. The streets are quiet as students get ready for school. You wouldn’t expect to look out your window and see a high schooler hiding behind a neighboring bush, water gun in hand . . . unless it’s springtime...

by Julia Harris, Staff Reporter

It’s 6 a.m. on a typical weekday in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. The streets are quiet as students get ready for school. You wouldn’t expect to look out your window and see a high schooler hiding behind a neighboring bush, water gun in hand . . . unless it’s springtime and you are aware of the annual game of Senior Assassins. 

Communication is paramount in a community the size of T/E, so a more thorough explanation of Senior Assassins would lessen the controversy surrounding it. People should be aware of the positive aspects of the game before attempting to put an end to it, which some community members have been discussing recently on social media.

To play, seniors participating in the game have a fellow classmate to track down and spray with water to get them out. The prize for the player who stays in the game the longest is a cash amount equivalent to the graduation year; this year it’s $2,022. Even with so much money at stake, the game is lighthearted with the “assassin” and victim posing for photos together after battle.

I remember my sister, part of the class of 2020, excitedly talking about scoping out her target with her friends. With a senior class of around 550 people and randomly assigned targets, many students’ targets are someone of whom they have never even heard.

Internships and college are fast approaching, and the game brings the seniors together and provides the opportunity for new friendships to form. Even those not actually playing often get involved, coming to the aid of those who are. After two years of a pandemic and irregularity, Senior Assassins has been able to continue with no alterations, giving students a sense of normalcy in trying times and something to which they can look forward. 

Senior Assassins is also a welcome distraction during the season of college admissions. Immediately after the game commences, there is chatter about it throughout the school. In majority-senior classes, it is the favorite topic of conversation; a considerable switch from the fall’s top choice: college applications. The game works to reduce some of the stress of awaiting college responses and ensures that not every conversation is about academics.  

On the other hand, some parents and community members believe students are trespassing during the game. Others say the teenagers aren’t old enough to use common sense and know the limits of what they’re allowed to do.  

Keeping these thoughts in mind, it is important to note that the police in the area are aware of the game and have put out social media updates alerting the community when the Senior Assassin season is set to begin. The players also have their own set of rules to follow, including using brightly colored water guns and not trespassing onto other peoples’ property while playing. 

However, since most of the communication takes place on social media, there should be consideration for those who don’t use the apps, such as in the form of an update in the TESD newsletter or with written signs around the area. 

To ensure the continuation of this tradition, the responsibility should fall on future game leaders to communicate specifics with police, school officials and the community as a whole. People in the district should also be more open to learning about the game before issuing criticisms. Hopefully these groups working together will allow for a peaceful preservation of Senior Assassins.


Julia Harris can be reached at [email protected]

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