By Nick Lawrie, Mack Liederman
Kill or be killed. It is a game of strategy, survival and water guns. The notorious senior tradition of the “Assassin” game will continue this year, beginning on May 16.
One WHS senior, who has asked to remain anonymous, is this year's Head of Games, and will be organizing the competition. “I'm looking forward to seeing the community that it creates,” she said. “Watching it from the outside will be so exciting.”
According to the WHS “Assassin’s Guide” rule book, players create teams of four and are assigned a target team, who they must successfully “stalk” and “kill” during a round of one week. A “kill” constitutes shooting a target player with a water gun while no “witnesses” are present. The team with at least one remaining member and the most “kills” and points wins the game.
“There were a ton of great kills last year,” said Andrew Zale, 2015 Head of Games and WHS alum. “People pretending to help each other and pulling out a water gun, friends backstabbing friends; it was like Degrassi on steroids.”
According to the WHS Assassin Twitter page, the best kills of the Class of 2015 included shots at Frosty Freeze and a movie showing of Pitch Perfect 2. In the end, the team comprised of ‘15 alumni Kyle Jason, Claudia Romeo, Brian Johnson and Chrissy Griesemer, emerged victorious.
According to Matt Luppino, 2014 Head of Games and WHS alumnus, the highlight of the 2014 games was when WHS alumnus Justin Slavin killed three targets on the last day of competition to bring his team to victory by a single point. Said Luppino, “It was an epic performance in the eleventh hour.”
Current senior Jesse Liu hopes to add his name to the list of past legends and champions when he participates in Assassin this year. “My game plan is to pick an unpredictable team and to play safe,” said Liu “I purchased two water guns - a long-range launcher and a pistol. The pistol is for close-range combat and the launcher is for long-range shots.¨
Assassin is not a school-sanctioned event, according to Assistant Principal Mr. Jim Desarno. “We don’t support it. If we see any of it going on on campus, we would take away any of the devices being used and possibly give conduct out to the students,” said Desarno. “But I think it's a lot of fun for the students. It’s exciting. It's something that brings a close to their high school experience.”
According to Zale, last year's game raised $1,500 from entrance fee costs for Westfield families affected by cancer, and nearly $4,000 have been raised over the last three years. This year's proceeds are being donated to the Student Government Association's charity, Hope Loves Company, which is aimed at helping children who have a parent affected by ALS.
Because Assassin is a live-action game, there are regulations in place to protect the safety of participants. “We have very strict rules,” said this year's Head of Games. “There are safe zones around the school. You can’t shoot in and out of moving cars. You can’t trespass.”
This year's game has 88 teams signed up at a $2 entrance fee per player, for about 76 percent participation among seniors.
“Assassin means more to the WHS community than I can express,” said Zale. “Although it may appear as some childish game that annoys neighbors, it affects lives positively. The purpose of Assassin is to be a fun way to remind us that although we may be going to college, Westfield and the community will always be home.”