Senior assassin comes to an end

Senior Alex Lin comes out victorious for McLean’s 2021 senior assassin game

It’s that time again. You’re messaged a name and that’s your target. For the next week, your one and only goal is to spray them with a water gun, killing and eliminating them from the game. Your objective? Be the last one standing.

For years, McLean’s senior assassin game has been a way for seniors to get one last hoorah before graduation, leaving their final mark on the school. With a $5 entrance fee, the game pools money for the winner in order to incentivize participation and add to the drama. If you thought the game was some playful, school—organized event, you’d be wrong—it is never to be taken lightly, especially not this year.

“There were many ways I prepared for Senior Assassin. I turned off my snap maps so my friends could not see my location on Snapchat,” senior participant Philippe Kabasale said. “[I looked forward] to getting out and hunting my target.”

Organized and run by SCA President Skylar Tennant, the Instagram account @mcleanseniorassassin2021 announced April 7 that the game had returned to McLean. With over 150 participants signed up, McLean mobilized and prepared for war as seniors stocked their water gun arsenals for the game.

“I basically organized and commentated on the entire senior assassin game,” Tennant said. “The school wasn’t affiliated with the game so I had [creative freedom] when it came to managing it.

In order to track the killing spree, Highlanders were prompted to submit pictures of their assassinations to the Instagram account. Within the first week, there were over 60 eliminations which were posted to the account. At the end of rounds, those who did not eliminate their targets were disqualified from the game.

“A lot of people took it very seriously, though it did depend. Especially in the first round, half the [participants] were eliminated. Some people didn’t really attempt to get their targets, whereas others waited outside of peoples’ houses for three hours at a time,” Tennant said.

It was a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire thing. There were many times when I felt like giving up and not going after my target.”

— Alex Lin

As the game continued and the survivor pool dwindled, Highlanders began getting creative with their eliminations, hiding behind cars in victims’ driveways, waiting in the parking lot of sports practices, and hiding in shrubbery. However, as the game progressed and grew more competitive, disagreements arose, especially after a series of controversial eliminations were posted to the Instagram, amassing over 177 angry comments on one post alone.

“There was some controversy because of a [disagreement about rules]. Someone claimed that they were still in practice when they were shot and the other side disagreed. [After some feuding,] they decided to be a good sport and agreed to the elimination,” Tennant said.

For the most part, eliminated Highlanders largely sat back and watched their surviving classmates duke it out. As the game came to a close, The Highlander’s very own Michelle Cheng was among the final four alive. When it was all said and done however, senior Alex Lin came out victorious.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire thing. There were many times when I felt like giving up and not going after my target but also huge breakthroughs in the game that kept me going,” Lin said. “[At the end of the day,] I ended up winning the whole thing!”

As part of an alliance of three other players, Lin and his ‘teammates’ worked together the entire game, scheming ways to come out on top.

“Three of us were able to seal first, second, and third place. I raked in $390 for the first place and my other comrades received $220 and $65. We all plan to enjoy a nice meal together and spend a chunk of it on lottery tickets in hopes to flip our profit,” Lin said.

As the class of 2021 looks forward to university and beyond, this senior assassin game is surely one they will not forget.

“I’ve always looked forward to participating in the tradition. It seemed like a lot of fun to be a part of it,” Lin said. “Especially this year, [the game] made up for a lot of the missed senior fun we weren’t able to experience. It was thrilling.”


Check out this interactive timeline of this year's senior assassin games