Bow wow. Meow. Animals at PAWS will have more much needed supplies thanks to the generosity of a recent Coronado High School graduate bound for Hawaii Pacific University in the fall. It had been a year-long goal of Alexis Uyesugi’s to donate to a non-profit organization at the end of her senior year when she signed up to play “Senior Assassin” last fall. It was her objective to win the game and donate all her winnings to a non-profit.
Senior Assassin is a light-hearted game involving swimming pool arm floaties and water guns. CHS is not the only school that has this tradition. Many high schools, and even some universities around the country play it. My daughter, Lexie, had a good conversation while we were in Oceanside watching the Supergirl Surf Pro Competition with a mom who noticed Lexie wearing her arm floatie. She smiled and laughed. She told us that her son had just gotten eliminated.
The earliest date I could find mention of it online was the live-action Assassin game based on a book published in 1982 titled Killer: The Game of Assassination. It also has ties to a 2011 movie Assassination Games starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins. Personally, when I heard about the Senior Assassin game at CHS, I immediately thought it was based on the Hunger Games Trilogy, ‘May the odds be ever in your favor!’
Senior Assassin is not sponsored by CHS or the district. Therefore, the game must be played outside of school grounds, and school activities such as sports games and practices are also off limits. To keep it fair and safe for all, the rules are posted on a dedicated Instagram page and it’s open only to seniors. The game starts at the beginning of the school year and each participant must buy in to join. Once the game starts, there is an anonymous method to assign each player a target who they must eliminate in a specific amount of time. The assassin must upload a photo and or video on Instagram for the ‘kill’ to count, and then a new target is assigned. Participants wear arm floaties as a shield of protection. The game is played throughout the year, until the winner is announced when the game concludes. The game’s host or hostess posts at the start of each round when rules have changed. This year, the class of 2023 had 178 participants, and the pot was $1500.
Alexis had high hopes at the start of the game and hunted her prey like ‘Katniss Everdeen’ in Hunger Games. In the middle of the year, she was in the lead with the most kills. In the spring, Alexis still had the overall lead, but the rules kept evolving. By June there were about 12 assassins left and then a few days before graduation, at the Senior Sunset, the game was concluded with nine winners; perhaps a record for the school. Usually there can only be one. Alexis was one of the winners. While she was happy to win, she was a little disappointed having to share the prize with eight others because it meant less to give to her non-profit.
Some of Alexis’ targets after elimination:
Alexis posted on her personal Instagram page to have her friends vote on the non-profit groups she picked. PAWS of Coronado garnered the most votes. Good choice. PAWS has been overwhelmed since COVID by an increased number of lost and abandoned pets found on the island. A recent Facebook post on the local Coronado Happenings group was that they are over capacity. Every inch in the facility is being used – laundry room, crates, office space, you name it. Two trailers had to be added to accommodate these fur babies. In March alone, 29 dogs were dumped on our beaches, parks, and streets. Alexis’ $160 donation was much appreciated by the staff. PAWS can surely use any amount of money donated. They can also use more volunteers in their organization. For more information on how to help, visit their website at pawsofcoronado.org.
Great job, Alexis, for being one of the game’s winners and for being such a compassionate young woman! The future is bright when our young adults choose to remember those in need, like our four-legged friends who need more shelter, supplies, and food.