Naperville North’s ‘senior assassins’ game is underway


Photo by Claire Tanza

The first week of February marked the beginning of “Senior Assassins” for many Naperville North High School students. In its approximate 25th year as a tradition among the NNHS senior class, the game is an opportunity for the class of 2023 to create memories with their peers before graduating in May. 

The student-run game is not affiliated with Naperville North, and requires participants to be competitive and crafty, with both Naperville North and Naperville Central students running their own games. Stella Kraus, an NNHS senior and an organizer of this year’s game, hopes it will be a chance for her classmates to come together.

“I think it’s a great way to bring the senior class together after COVID. We kind of missed out on two years of all of us bonding, so it’s just a great way to get everyone together and do something that’s not school affiliated but still within our senior class,” Kraus said.

After paying an initial $5 entry fee, each participant is assigned to a fellow senior as their “target.” Using a water gun, players’ goal is to “hit” and eliminate their target while avoiding being hit by their own assassin. Players must abide by a set of rules, including respecting safe zones (like NNHS property or a workplace) and must submit photo evidence of an elimination. Over the course of several rounds, the number of players shrinks via eliminations or if a player fails to hit their target before each round ends. The last player standing will receive half of the money collected, along with cash prizes for the most hits, the most creative hit and the first hit. NNHS senior David Thompson shares his thoughts about the gameplay so far.

“I haven’t made my first kill yet, but I’ve been getting hunted down pretty much every day. My assassin tried to get me three times in one day,” Thompson said. 

Thompson also said his assassin threatened to sleep outside of his house and has blocked entry to his car when he has tried to escape, but it’s all in good fun. Players in the game are using a variety of strategies to eliminate their targets, including checking the student-run “intel accounts” on social media and searching for addresses. Naperville North senior Gloria Baek says that having a well-planned strategy is essential for apprehending a target.

“I have some intel on where [my target’s] sports practice was and where she lives…and I knew that she was doing airband practice at somebody else’s house, so I staked out those places with my friend,” Baek said.  

The game could last up until Prom on May 6, but remains a lighthearted activity that continues to bond the senior class with an opportunity to enjoy their last months of high school together. Many aspects of the game attract students every year, including the thrill of successfully eliminating a target and the ongoing suspense of not knowing when an assassin may appear. Baek says a major draw of Senior Assassins is the adrenaline-inducing excitement it brings. 

“We’re in our last year of high school, and we can kind of go back to the childhood joy of just playing with water guns,” Baek said.