Jesse Heussner ’11
Although the end of the year for the majority of kids at Staples means a heavy workload and finals, some students are busy stalking, backstabbing, and hiding out in rose bushes outside of others houses.
As part of the AP Assassination game, a nerf-shooting contest that has gained enormous popularity and was featured by the New York Times in 1999, participants are required to “assassinate” their assigned targets with foam dartswithin one week.
Any senior who has taken an AP course is allowed to participate, and a good number of those seniors are participating in this years contest. The AP Assassination mission statement summarizes its purpose:
“Advanced Placement Assassination is a long-standing tradition at Staples High School…It is designed to give hard-working seniors enrolled in AP classes a constructive, creative, and fun way to spend their free time after AP testing is completed.”
Money plays a role in the games popularity too. Applicants are required to pay a $ 20 entry free, of which the winner gets 90 percent of all total earnings (the remaining 10 percent go to President Jon Choi ’09, who does not participate but organizes the competition). However, the potential monetary reward was not the determining factor in the decision to do AP Assassination for many seniors.
“I do it for the spirit of tradition,” said Ivan Blaustien ’09.
Despite the rising popularity, about half of Staples seniors do not partake in the game, either not wanting to pay the money (the entry fee has risen $13 over the past ten years) or not wanting to devote time to the game.
“It’s not worth it,” said John Shoup ’09. “I think there are much better ways to spend your time as your senior year comes to a close.”
In order to win, it’s clear that a lot of time and effort must be devoted. “Assassinations” may not occur on school grounds or during school related events, which leads to people camping out at others houses and relying on hints and clues from friends to pin down their targets.
Perhaps the most notable assassination of the early rounds took place on May 18th, when Joanna Gross ’09 shot Blaustien while ironically being in the process of buying his own nerf gun.
While to some, the game may seem amateurish or even dangerous; precautions are taken to avoid injury and wrongdoing. Applicants are required to sign a liability form before participating, separating the game from Staples High School. Additionally, guns must be pre-approved before usage, and nerf swords and footballs are not allowed. Any potentially harmful high-pressure guns and devices are also strictly prohibited.
The number of AP Assassination participants has been cut down in recent weeks with the first two rounds completed. Round three has already started, and the fourth and final round will begin on June 7th.