Debler eliminates competition in assassin game

AJ Grutsch | Podcast Editor 

After reading “The Most Dangerous Game” the freshman class prepared to participate in a game of their own, involving betrayal, heartbreak and justice. 

“The Most Dangerous Game,” a 1924 short story by Richard Connell, features a rich count who hunts humans for sport on his private island. After studying the story and film the freshman class prepared to do the same — not with real weapons but with clothespins and black dots. 

“It’s a fun way to make the stories come alive, and I think it’s a nice break from essays and worksheets,” English 1 teacher Brendan Praeger said. “A bunch of seniors played it when I was student teaching and it was fun to watch. They used squirt guns, which is obviously a problem, so I adapted it to something that would work well here.”

In the game, students are assigned a target to eliminate. This can be done by attaching a clothespin to a target’s clothes or tricking the target into holding a piece of paper with a black dot drawn on it. The way to prevent getting pinned is to say “Don’t pin me,” before your attacker gets to you. 

Eliminations were not allowed during class times and breaking any school rules resulted in disqualification.

Praeger assigned two of his independent study students to be commissioners of the game. Seniors Lauren Schutter and Eli McDaniel were responsible for assigning targets, settling disputes and tracking the game’s progress.

A WHS tradition since 2012, the game was suspended last year because of Covid-19. “The current sophomores missed out, so I might have them play next year when I have them as juniors,” Praeger said.

The game started at dawn October 4. With a new bright and early day, the world knew not of the chaos about to ensue. With more than half of the class gone on the first day, the students become uneasy and more cautious wherever they go. 

“This year was a slower start than usual, but it really picked up at lunch time,” Praeger said. “They learned pretty quickly that they couldn’t trust anyone.”

On the third day of the game, an announcement was made over the intercom, warning all players that the game had become a free for all. Knowing that multiple people could be trying to eliminate them, the freshman plunged into chaos. “I had planned out how I was gonna get out this person and the person after that but that went all out the window,” freshman Dalton Debler said. 

“I had planned out how I was gonna get out this person and the person after that but that went all out the window.”

Dalton Debler

Eventually, the game was down to three: Dalton Debler, Jude Meseke and Grady Perrin. Dalton and Grady devised a plan to get Jude out of the game, yet when Grady had turned his back on Dalton, Dalton took the opportunity to eliminate him. “I was slightly salty but I’m so glad I can wear sweatshirts again without the fear of getting pinned,” Perrin said. 

And then the game was down to two players: Dalton and Jude. Armed with pins at their sides, the two had planned for war. There was always fear of opening Snapchats or emails in case it was the infamous black dot. 

“Don’t trust your friends.”

Jude Meseke

Jude has been on his guard for days, ready to defend himself from being attacked at every turn… until he was offered a seemingly harmless piece of gum. He accepted, but unbeknownst to Jude, a black dot had been attached to the bottom of the wrapper and the game was over. 

After a short controversy of the size of the dot on the gum, the games commissioners ruled that Dalton Debler has been claimed the victor. 

After speaking to Dalton about his Prize, he had proclaimed that he would share his earnings with his brothers in arms. The prize has yet to be decided, but will most likely be in the form of food. 

After all the struggle and heartbreak was over, the freshman class had learned a valuable lesson. “Don’t trust your friends,” Meseke said. 


WHS Assassin Champions 

2012: Jason Maciejewski

2013: Natalee Kates

2014: Sania Huda

2015: Erika Prue

2017: Raegan Feyh

2018: Kara Hafenstine

2019: Robert Potter

2021: Dalton Debler

Check out this week’s Senioritis podcast Friday for an interview with the final three assassins.

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