Last Senior Standing

As the school year winds down, seniors look for ways to stay entertained

Nolan Haberstroh

More stories from Nolan Haberstroh

The Big Commitment
May 25, 2023

Elaina Rainwater, one of the organizers for a game of Senior Assassin stands with goggles on. Wearing goggles is the only way to guarantee safety in Senior Assassin.

As senior Nathan Reitz makes his way through his daily life, every time he leaves home or school grounds, he’s on edge. He’s always aware of his surroundings, checking any area he enters for signs of people hiding. Reitz hasn’t just started doing this out of nowhere, he’s playing a game of Senior Assassin, and has yet to get out.

“It’s a last man standing competition using water guns,” Reitz said. “If you get shot by a water gun, you’re out. The only way to get back in is to do a challenge that was set by whoever got you out.”

Reitz knows better than anyone else the ins and outs of the game. On top of playing the game, he was the one who organized it. With over 40 people playing, it’s a lot to keep track of. While the point of the game is to have fun, it can be stressful for Reitz having to manage the whole thing.

“It’s kind of hard to organize, and to make sure everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing, because every now and then, people will break a rule, and we have to figure out what to do then.” Reitz said. “But overall, [the game has] been pretty fun. It’s improved our quality of life, it’s given us something to do for the last quarter of senior year, because we’re all kind of burning out right now.” 

Reitz’s game isn’t the only one being played though, and some organizers find the process of managing the game very enjoyable. Senior Elaina Rainwater is behind a separate, smaller version Senior Assassin, with completely different players, and slightly different rules. Unlike Reitz, Rainwater has forgone participating in the game herself, instead choosing to dedicate her time to making sure it’s running smoothly.

“I like planning. I use Google Sheets to put all of [the information] in, and I like doing it.” Rainwater said. “There’s been a couple of times where people will call me about technicalities I never thought about before, and I just had to tell them, we’re learning as we go, and I think part of the fun is definitely from that.”

Planning isn’t the only part of organizing the game that Rainwater enjoys. She also finds a lot of fun in seeing the creative, ridiculous strategies the players use to get each other out.

“I love finding out how people got out, because it’s just so silly.” Rainwater said. “People fall for really stupid tricks, like my friend, someone came over because they told them ‘I need to get my belt from your house,’ and that’s what they got out to. I was thinking, how did you not see that coming?”

For many players, part of what enticed them into joining was the promised prize. Senior Claire Amelung was enticed by the prize and the premise of the game, but found herself somewhat frustrated with how it was handled. 

“I did it mainly for the money, because the winner is supposed to get 250 dollars, and I thought, well that should be pretty easy,” Amelung said. “No, it’s not easy. People have taken it very seriously.” 

Amelung was one of the first participants to get out, being caught off guard while running errands on only the second day. The challenge she was given was particularly difficult compared to others. Some had to eat olives or drink pickle juice in order to get back in. Amelung was asked to drink a half gallon of milk, and then run a mile in under 10 minutes. Unable to finish under the time limit, she still completed the majority of the mile.

“I got really angry when I got out because I was told my challenge would be more lenient, and that I’d be able to finish my mile,” Amelung said. “But no, they said I couldn’t go back in, and I was upset, because I felt like I had almost died running.”

Despite some individual problems, most participants are enjoying the game. In reality, the biggest issue for organizers has been the length of the game. Both games have been running for much longer than expected. For Reitz, it’s been a problem of people playing it too safe.

“There’s been a lot of people trying to fly under the radar. Not getting anybody out, or kind of just hiding, stuff like that.” Reitz said. “So we originally did a kind of purge, where if you hadn’t gotten anyone out, you’d be out.”

With schedules becoming increasingly hectic, Rainwater has struggled to keep her participants excited and engaged in the game after the initial few weeks.

“Occasionally I’ll send a screenshot of my Venmo wallet with the prize in it, and tell them, ‘Who wants this money?’,” Rainwater said. “I want people to finish this so badly, but I also know that everyone is really busy right now. I feel like if we can wait for things to get slower, there could be a chance of [Senior Assassin] coming back to life.” 

No matter how long the game takes, Reitz thinks the game has accomplished what it needed to, even in an unfinished state.

“This game has a large group of people that don’t talk to each other outside of the game,” Reitz said. “So it’s kind of building more relationships, and just trying to get the most out of our final quarter of high school.”