The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Last one standing: Why Senior Assassin, like its winners, continues to survive


It’s late on a Friday night and a group of five friends are enjoying the first night of the weekend on one of their back patios. However, a purge has just started, confirming that none of them are safe. As the group relaxes at the end of another long week in the home stretch to graduation, one of them, already recording on their phone, draws an X-Shot water blaster and shoots the others point blank. Just like that, another four are down and their friend, their assassin, is one step closer to that jackpot.

While it may sound incredibly bizarre, LHS is just one of many schools playing Senior Assassin, the variant of assassination games that has taken the nation by storm. 


While many school traditions, such as assemblies and spirit days, are recognized by some students, Senior Assassin is hugely popular and has high turnouts every year. 

For the end of the 2023-24 school year alone, 268 seniors, of around 420 total at LHS, paid the $6 stake to enter and play the game.

“I think part of it’s the money,” senior Mason Marabella said. “You get a $1,000 prize if you win, so that definitely helps incentivize that.”

In order to stay in the game, players are required to have gotten at least one kill by April 22 and two by May 6. Marabella earned two kills by the first deadline with classmates Mia Plunkett and Jake Gifford, before his elimination by classmate Will Carney.


Marabella also said that he enjoys seeing community reactions to seniors in the floaties and goggles that are optional safety items to protect against elimination.

“After one of our lacrosse practices, we went to Dairy Dream,” Marabella said. “We all had our floaties on and then this group of guys were just laughing at us, wondering what it was about. When we told them what was going on, they were really interested and thought it was a great idea.”

While the community aspect of the game and the money on the line are both factors that keep people playing, so too do other features, such as the creativity it may take to win.

“I think that it’s really cool that everyone in the grade kind of joins together,” senior Grace Rankin, who was eliminated by classmate Charlie Watson, said. “You have to hunt down your person to be able to win.”

Rankin also said that the tradition aspect of the game at LHS has likely kept it going.

“I think it’s because we’ve seen all the other grades do it,” Rankin said. “It’s kind of what you’re living up to… this is just part of the fun to get out of high school.”

Senior Logan Howard said that the game is appealing because anybody, regardless of how social or well-connected they are, can play.

“A big thing is that you don’t need to be popular or know people to play,” Howard said. “And also, a lot of people are motivated by the money.”


While the game has many different rules and specifications in place to ensure fair and safe play, many players still find ways to get creative with their participation, only adding to the fun.

Senior Chase Running took a unique approach to the game by eliminating himself. While recording on his phone, Running sprayed himself with a water pistol, resulting in his removal from the game. 

Despite intentionally losing, Running enjoyed his time playing and liked “the fact that there’s so much time you [have to] get [your target] and just at all times, you have to be aware.”

Running also said that the game brings people together, even though it encourages players to constantly be on high alert.

“It connects you with your friends,” Running said. “You have to trust them or, you know, [not] trust them. I think it brings you closer to them, so I kind of miss that.”

While the game is enjoyed by many seniors and viewed as a celebration to the end of high school, some view it as something that needs to be taken seriously with precaution.


In early April, a group of masked players from Gurnee entered a restaurant with realistic-looking water guns, seeking to eliminate their targets. The situation caused concern and could have quickly escalated, resulting in many people criticizing the game for potentially putting students at risk.

While incidents like these have been documented at different high schools over the course of the game, Marabella said that players generally have common sense to not commit these kinds of actions.

“I think that a lot of people are really into the game, very competitive,” Marabella said, “but they know the limit of how far.”


One popular feature of the game is the day-long events known as purges. 

Purges share the common theme of everyone still in the game being able to eliminate anyone, while safety items are often removed entirely for the time being.

These days are also unique due to the fact that someone previously eliminated can, by earning enough kills, earn readmission to the game.

After being eliminated by player Ranya Belabbes, senior Luke Kazian earned multiple kills during a purge, to secure a second chance at playing.

“I really like getting my friends out,” Kazian said. “That’s where it started. I wanted to get my friends out first, but then I got my first target, someone I didn’t really know. I thought it’d be pretty easy to start getting kills and then I found out it was pretty hard.”

Overall, the game has become extremely popular with both those playing and those who have been eliminated. Those who participate are able to join in the fun and stay on edge, while those who are out are able to watch the fun via social media and the game’s designated app. This all creates a tense atmosphere in preparation for the game’s final outcome.

“I’d like to see the game go pretty far and people take it seriously,” Kazian said.

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