Assassins arrive


Graphic by Hanalei Hauanio ‘20

This year’s senior assassins advertisement was moved to Instagram first time in CCHS history.

Savannah Dupper, News Editor

2019 senior assassins victor Diego Argueta ‘19 pursues Jake Mitten ‘19 in order to eliminate him in last year’s senior assassins game. Video by Andre Duisters '19

Thuds ricochet across the parking lot from a series of rapid footsteps as the chase begins. Caught unprotected without a floaty, the prey runs, but to no avail. A stream of water gushes out of a plastic gun, hitting the target, and then it’s over. 

A competitive, paranoia-inducing game, senior assassins starts today for the Cathedral Catholic High School class of 2020. The sight of CCHS seniors running around town with children’s floaties and water guns is about to become commonplace.

Played by high school seniors across the country, senior assassins is most popular in East coast schools throughout Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. However, the game’s prevalence led it to also become a senior tradition in many California high schools.

“I’m very excited to participate in senior assassins,” CCHS student Delaney Fritz ‘20 said. “I like that it’s student-run, and I think it’s a great way to build community and bring the class of 2020 together.” 

Senior assassins, while not a school-sponsored game, is a popular tradition among CCHS students. Fully student-run, the game operates through social media apps including Venmo, Instagram, and Facebook. The game’s organizer sends targets by text message and keeps track of kills and each team’s progress with a Google document. 

“I wanted to make some changes to the game, but after doing Instagram polls to find out what the class [seniors] wanted, I decided to leave the rules pretty much the same as last year,” senior assassins organizer and CCHS student Hanalei Hauanio ‘20 said. 

Standard senior assassins rules state each team needs to eliminate an assigned target by shooting them with a water gun when they are not wearing their floaty, a device that provides protection from elimination. Any team that goes more than 10 weeks without a kill is automatically eliminated. 

Safe zones, where seniors can reside without their floaty and still receive protection from elimination, include school, sports, work, and private events. 

While senior assassins is largely nonviolent, the game made headlines last year for sparking a violent conflict in Sacramento between several students from Turlock High School. The senior-assassins-related fight led to the arrest of one student for aggravated assault, while another student suffered severe jaw injuries and underwent emergency surgery. After the incident, THS seniors decided to discontinue the game. 

“Senior assassins kept increasing in intensity, and I think students were realizing how dangerous it was,” THS Principal Mr. Gabe Ontiveros said. 

“We worked with students in ASB to conduct a Senior Showdown, a kind of field day during the last few weeks of school, instead of senior assassins.” 

Despite some controversy surrounding the game, CCHS seniors remain excited about assassins, and many have spent the last few weeks searching for the perfect set of floaties and the most lethal water gun. 

“I totally recommend that this year’s seniors participate [in senior assassins],” CCHS alumnus and 2019 senior assassins victor Diego Argueta ’19 said. “Some advice to the teams would be to get their kills during the first couple weeks, because that’s when everyone is least into the game and always forget their floaties. It’s also beneficial to make an alliance with friends in order to stay protected from other teams, and to have parents check in the yard to make sure no one is camping out there.” 

The cash prize also motivates many seniors to participate in assassins. Each team pays a fee of $25 to participate in the game, and Hauanio estimates this year’s cash prize for the winning team totals to $1,500.

“I ended up using the cash I won to buy myself a MacBook Pro that I would need for college,” Argueta said. 

Senior assassins, while complicated to organize, will create amazing memories for the senior class, Hauanio said. 

“Trust no one and have fun,” Hauanio said.