Senior Adam Capozzoli took down names, created styled social media posts, and drew inspiration from his summer camp, Camp Haven, two weeks before school started to craft the competition that engulfed the Class of 2020 for the first month of school: Senior Elimination.
“I texted tons of people to see who was interested in playing, and from there I made a list of everyone who was going to participate,” said Capozzoli, who solely organized the event but didn’t participate to eliminate potential bias.
“Everyone gets a target they have to eliminate with water. Once they eliminate them, they chase their target’s target, so it’s a big loop until one person is left. While you’re chasing your target, someone is chasing you too, so that causes some paranoia,” said Capozzoli.
Additional rules were that players couldn’t eliminate their target until ten minutes after school, sports, or work. Any person wearing goggles was off limits, and the last person left in the game received a $50 prize.
Senior Gilly Goodwin, who was the lead eliminator for part of the competition, went to extreme measures to get the upper hand.
“I hid in my friend’s closet after cross country practice to get her out. I snuck downstairs while she was eating and got close to her without her seeing or hearing me. I also crawled under a car to get a girl, but she was wearing goggles,” said Goodwin.
Capozzoli wishes for the game to become school-sponsored and traditional for graduating classes, but some characteristics might make that difficult, like the night when some regular rules didn’t apply, dubbed “Elimination Night.”
“I heard someone went to Hole in the Wall beach and were looking around for someone. When they left, they saw that person’s target leaving too, so they all chased each other to Old Lyme,” said Capozzoli. They then tried to track each other down, but things got out of hand.
Following that evening, Capozzoli addressed the participants by informing them the game would be paused and rules would be updated in order to discourage such behavior, posting on social media: “If you violate any driving laws, I will disqualify you and you will not be allowed to participate in the spring.” Since then, the game has been reactivated.
Incidents like these are likely to be obstacles to getting the competition school-sponsored as senior tradition. What concerns Principal Michael Susi is the entire premise of “elimination.”
“I love the camaraderie, but I would hate for [Senior Elimination] to turn into something significantly negative. The goal for unity is great, but the vessel for it isn’t ideal,” said Mr. Susi.
Despite some setbacks, Capozzoli remains optimistic and emphasized how bonds have strengthened within the class, since fun on this level doesn’t usually occur until later in the year.
“A lot of grades have cliques, but when 120 people sign up for this game, you’ll most likely get a target from another group…so you don’t stay with just your friend group, you interact with the entire grade,” said Capozzoli.