Senior Assassins Brings Paranoia to Walpole High


Andrea Lee

Seniors often use water guns or even water bottles to assassinate their targets.

There comes a time around the end of the school year when betrayals, stalking, and hiding become a regular part of the lives of the seniors up until graduation: Senior Assassins. The game, played by high school seniors across the country, has become a staple of Walpole High’s end of the year activities.  Organized by Senior Class President Bryan Rockwood, every participant was assigned a target on Monday, April 23; they are then given two weeks to douse their target with water.  Constant paranoia is rampant, and underclassmen are consistently being enlisted to help seniors not only get their targets, but even just to get to their cars. And with more than 100 players, nobody knows who they can trust.  Also due to the high participation rate, the stakes will be high come graduation, as the winner(s) will be taking home over $500.

Senior Assassins is not treated as just a game; the majority of the seniors take it very seriously. The competition not only tests your mental strength (coming up with ways to get your target and simultaneously not get assassinated) but your physical strength as well (running after or away from someone who is trying to get you). And it’s not as easy as merely soaking someone with water when you get a chance, because the people you have to soak are classmates, or even worse-friends. The moral boundaries are unclear-what should one do if a friend is now a target? The seniors this year have had several different approaches to this dilemma. Some chose to tell the friend and team up, or at least give them a fighting chance. Others have lied and used their friendship to get an easy kill. Either way, the numbers are dwindling down day by day as seniors have been coming up with more and more creative ways to successfully assassinate their target.

The first day of assassins, no one knew who anyone had and there remained an air of mystery and suspicion. But after the second day, the majority of people seemed to know who had who, as well as who had them. “Knowing the person who has you as a target, it relieves a certain amount of stress knowing who to look for and it lets me play a little strategically, not telling the people who are close to them,” said senior Luke Witherell. And as far as knowing who other people have, he said, “I use it as a bargaining chip.”

Senior Assassins certainly brings out the creeper and the stalker in every player. Finding out everything about a target, down to where they live and what their everyday schedule is, is a strategy that is crucial to winning. Early morning stakeouts are a particular favorite, as students will wake up even earlier than normal to hide outside of someone’s house in the hopes of getting a kill before the day even starts. And knowing the target’s schedule is always helpful; senior Caroline Weldon assassinated senior Erin Strickland on her way out of Walpole High School because she knew that Strickland had jazz choir.

Of course, several people have an advantage-the people who have no after school activities. Not only can they get out of school before 2:30 and be safe in the parking lot, but they can stay in their house for the duration of the day and be safe. Those who have sports are not so lucky-they are safe during their game, but leaving their game proves to be a challenge. Senior Katie Cavaca experienced this after a softball game, when senior Bill Cullinane blocked her car from leaving. Cavaca, unperturbed, proceeded to drive her car over the curb to get away from Cullinane, leaving unscathed and dry. And now, Cullinane is at a disadvantage because Cavaca knows that he is going to be coming after her. He said, “When your target knows you have them, the difficulty of the process greatly increases. It’s also going to make our weekend real weird, because if we’re together, I’m pouring a gallon of water on her with no remorse.”

The boundaries of the competition are not always clear, and in which case, a call is usually made to senior Bryan Rockwood, who is President of the Senior Class and running the event. “This game is filled with a lot of grey area,” said Rockwood. Even on the first day, a call had to be made to him by seniors Derek Caneja and Peter Bruen, who are in the same film crew. On a trip to get food at Rico’s for some film kids, Bruen assassinated Caneja. Yet, back in Mr. Alan’s room, no one was sure if the kill would count because of several rules that were in question. After a call to Rockwood, Bruen got the kill, and Caneja was out of the game. Rockwood said, “The decision whether it is a kill or not really boils down to the rules. It’s always tough to argue with someone who has a valid point, but what tends to happen is that the person who is tagged out missed an opportunity to be safe and that is always a heartbreaker.” And on the second day of Senior Assassins, Bruen had to make another call to Rockwood about another potentially questionable kill. Fellow film mate and senior Dan DuBois was Bruen’s next target, and DuBois happened to be filming with Bruen’s crew. With a performance by Caneja claiming that his camera had died while filming with his car in the parking lot, he asked DuBois to check in the trunk for a battery. And while he didn’t find a battery, he did find something else-Bruen waiting for him with a bottle of water. Even though DuBois argued the kill, it was deemed acceptable, and he was out of the game. DuBois said, “It was pretty cheap because you aren’t supposed to do it during film, but I’m totally fine with it. He was just playing the game.”

Senior Assassins brings out the competitive side in all the participants, and everyone has their own unique strategies that they hope to use to win. As the game continues, the amount of players will diminish over the month of May and up until graduation. Alliances will be made and broken, betrayals will be committed, and seniors will get wet; but it’s all part of the game.