Students Explore Music, Culture, and Self Identity with Drop and Read's "First Rule of Punk"

Providence Country Day School Middle School students may have forgone their traditional classes this year for the 7th Annual Drop and Read program but they more than made up for it with unique lessons in music, culture, research, art, and social studies.

The annual Drop and Read intensive offers students a unique opportunity to step outside the traditional classroom setting and become immersed in project-based learning that integrates multiple disciplines. This year, students read The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez, which follows the story of seventh grader Malú as she struggles to find her own place in a new school after moving with her mother from Florida to Chicago. Exploring Mexican-American culture, music, friendship, and school and family relationships, the book is applauded for its positivity and inspiration to young adults to "be yourself."

Students paired their book analysis with both individual "I am" collage art zines and group research projects on punk rock history, style, and ideology. Their art and presentations were showcased on February 14 at a culminating potluck event featuring local designer, musician, and environmental activist Jen Long who shared her own "First Rule of Punk" inspirational story. Before her talk, she also read the book and could relate her growth as a musician to Malú's journey. It was another book, Moby Dick that inspired her creation of the Whale Guitar Project. The Whale Guitar is a one-of-a-kind, hand-made electric guitar that Long designed and created to travel the world to inspire action to protect ocean life. Brady Jones '25 is now among hundreds of notable musicians that has played and signed the guitar which is featured on display in museum exhibits all over the country.

The Drop and Read program in the middle school has demonstrated yet again the breadth and depth of its innovative programming and continues to create a valuable and fresh collaborative learning environment for middlers each year. Stay tuned for next year's book selection!

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