Project X


Abby Beckler, Staff Writer

“Another day, another duel” was the mantra as the madness of Project X took hold of the school once again.
In Project X, an annual Upper Division-wide contest, each player is assigned a target to tag or “kill” with a spoon. Once the player does so, they get their target’s secret word and enter it into the game’s website. The player is then assigned a new target and the hunt begins again. The players left standing with the most kills by the end of the week win.
This year, the three winners of this year’s Project X were Stella Cha (11), Mayanka Dhingra (12), and Dallas Dent (12).
“Project X is one of the rare opportunities we HM students have to not only have some fun while classes are in session, not in classrooms, however, but also a chance to get to know other students a bit better,” Justin Gurvitch (10), one of the organizers of the game, said.
Another benefit of the game is that because the target assignments are random, there is a high chance that a tagger won’t know who their target is. In this way, Project X strengthens the community by allowing students to meet other students who they may not have interacted with otherwise.
“Project X is both a fun activity to raise spirits on campus, and I also think it’s community building because you never know who you’re going to get as your ‘target’, so it results in you meeting other people and getting to know the school,” Dean of Students Michael Dalo said. “It’s an opportunity to do something a little bit out of the norm, have fun, and meet other students.”
This year the game was organized by Community Council members Gurvitch, Isha Agarwal (12), Pratham Gandhi (12), and Leyli Granmyeth (11).
“We planned the game for the first time when I was a freshman,” Agarwal said. “Because the game was new that year, there were no unexpected surprises, but every subsequent year, however, we tried to include some fun twists to the game to keep things exciting.”
At the end of the first day, everybody who was still alive received a new target for the next morning, and on the last day, everyone’s kills were reset to zero. Whoever accumulated the most kills on the last day won the whole game.
“I had four kills before the reset, and I honestly don’t think I would have won without it because there were so many people that had far more kills than I did because I was absent on Monday, so I missed a whole day of killing people,” Cha said. “There were people who had six or seven kills on the first day, and I think they definitely could have won if not for the reset.”
From amassing student armies to hiding in unexpected places, some students go to extremes to avoid getting tagged, Cha said.
“My first assassin happened to be one of my close friends in my Ethics class, and it was very difficult to get past her,” Cha said. “I had to avoid her all the time because she knew my schedule, so Dr. Leeds had to walk me all the way from Spence Cottage to Lutnick.”
“Jacob Shorsch (11)- he’s fast. I chased him twice, once on the way to Lutnick and the other time all the way around Lutnick, and he was convinced I wasn’t going to get him,” Dhingra said. “I had to hide outside his SOI classroom, and when he came out, I ran around the corner to get him. It was a pretty triumphant moment, I’d have to say.”
While most players don’t know their targets, Cha was friends with three of her targets.
“It was actually very funny because your friends are the people who least suspect you to have them. Just automatically, the default is that you have a stranger, so you’re always worried that ‘I don’t know this person who has me, they’re going to sneak up behind me’ but they never expect it to be their own friend,” Cha said. In order to kill her target, she would convince her victim that their assassin was still the one that she had killed without their knowledge, and that would throw them off their guard.
“I was in my history class, and I had just found out that I had James Thomas (10), and I wasn’t sure if it was him because a lot of people call him JT, and I was walking out of my history classroom, and he’s walking by and I stick my spoon out on his shoulder and I go, ‘James’ and he turns and he looks at me and he’s just in awe,” Dhingra said. “It was a good moment; I felt kind of bad, I will admit, because he didn’t see it coming,”
“There was this one particular target I had that was such a pain to catch: Sam Weidman (10), who was no doubt my most formidable opponent,” Dent said. “It felt like his entire class was rooting for him. When I went in for the tag, I swear his whole defensive line appeared out of nowhere. Tagging him out felt like a victory on Super Bowl Sunday. It was so much fun!”