A Game For The Ages

    For decades senior high school students in Pennsylvania have played an assassin-based tournament-style game, where students must eliminate targets in order to win. Over the years there have been many different twists and rules varying from school to school. The 2024 Malvern Prep Senior Assassin game ended in a 3-way split.
    A Game For The Ages

    The current Senior Assassin game has been carried on throughout Pennsylvania schools for decades. Current 10th grade theology teacher, Mrs. Kenworthey, recalls a similar game played at her high school in the 1980s that has now evolved into what is played today.


    “It’s [Senior Assassin] definitely evolved over time, ” Kenworthey said. “I graduated from State College High School in the early 80s and the game was played then and my daughter played it when she was a senior [2023].” 


    Kenworthey does not remember all the details of the game played at her high school but had one particular memory where her friend opened her locker to a picture of an explosion, resulting in elimination from the game.


    “I’m lucky I can remember what day it is,” Kenworthey jokes. “But I certainly have these memories. I don’t remember it being just seniors, I remember I was with my friend Katie. We were walking and talking and she opened her locker and she saw the explosion picture that a kid had stuck in her locker, she cursed because she knew she was out.”


    The current state of the game, here at Malvern, includes each assassin receiving a target each round. Then the assassin must shoot their target with a water gun anytime off school grounds in order to eliminate them. Each assassin must eliminate their target before the round concludes in order to make it to the next round. There are many other rules such as immunity items and buybacks in order to make the game more interesting and enjoyable. Each participant must pay a $10 entry fee and the winner or winners that make it to the end will receive a sum of money as winnings. 


    This year’s game moderator was one of the seniors, Chase McCauley, although McCauley was not able to participate in the game itself, he took on this important role which included having to set all the rules, coordinating each person’s target every round, and posting updates on the Senior Assassin Instagram account.


    “I chose to run it because I figured I could run it pretty well,” McCauley stated. “I really didn’t see anybody else stepping up to run it and I’ve always seen people have fun with it in the past, so I wanted to make sure our grade had a fun time doing it.”


    One challenging aspect of running this year’s game was the randomization of targets in order to ensure the game was fair for everyone.


    “I think the hardest part was getting the targets sent out and making it fair, making sure it’s randomized enough that people aren’t getting their best friends out. So the game doesn’t all end within one week,” McCauley said.


    Last year’s winner Carson Myers offered some insight into how he was able to win the game using the “immunity item” or wearing underwear to his advantage.


    “I walked everywhere in my underwear, I also live really far from everyone, those are probably my two keys,” Myers said. “I got pretty lucky with my targets and I ended up being out with all of them pretty much and I didn’t have to I didn’t have to work very hard to get my targets. I got pretty lucky, but I definitely walked around in my underwear a lot.


    “There were a lot of funny memories of seeing other guys get knocked out,” Myers said. “I remember after lacrosse practice at Chipotle there was a standoff where someone was holding up his water gun at the car and telling the guy to get out of the car thinking that would actually work. There were a lot of good memories of guys like trying to get other guys out and also helping my friends get someone out.” 


    One of this year’s winners, Louis Delfra’s favorite memory was when he caught his best friend hiding in his bushes while eating dinner.


    “My favorite memory was my best friend, Colby Weaver, having me as a target. I had to constantly avoid him hunting me down. The funniest part was when I was eating dinner with my whole family on my patio and I spotted Colby in the bushes. That was probably my favorite memory by far,” Delfra said.


    This year’s game ended in a 3-way tie after each of the final three decided to split the money into thirds and end the game. 


    “The decision was unanimous,” Delfra said. “Everybody was tired of walking outside of their house and their underwear. You basically got paid to be clothed because you got paid to not be in your underwear, and that was kind of nice, and we each got $380 a piece.”


    The future of the Senior Assassin game has the potential to grow exponentially and become more elaborate than ever in the coming years. As rules continue to change the game becomes different from school to school and year to year. One thing is for certain, a senior-wide game like this will always be a fun way to unite the entire Malvern Prep senior class as well as an opportunity to win some cold hard cash.  

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