Community Activities

All of these activities are meant to prompt reflection on the book and to help students get to know one another, but they are completely optional!

Activity:  Music Playlist

American Bandstand was an extremely popular American television program hosted by the famous Dick Clark. The show ran from 1952 to 1989, and it featured teenagers dancing to the Top 40! 

Early in Gordo, with Cookie’s inspiration and her new Panasonic radio, the kids create their own American Bandstand, using great songs from 1974-5: “The Hustle,” “Seasons in the Sun,” “Tell Me Something Good,” “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room, and “I Honestly Love You” (49).  For your musical pleasure, Google  some of these songs!

Then, create your own American Bandstand Global Spotify playlist for the summer of 2022. Share your playlist with Mr. Caldwell ( and he will create a playlist titled with your preferred name. Then, follow PEA Class of 2026 on Spotify and check out the playlists to see your classmates’ selections!

Activity: What do you love to do?

In “El Gordo,” Gordo shows a love and inclination for jumping rope and singing jump rope rhymes and an aversion to using the jump rope to train for boxing. You will have opportunities outside of class to pursue clubs, affinity spaces, and extracurricular activities. Visit the Orientation 2022 course on Canvas, and click on the Discussion Board tab; there, you will find a space where you can share your interests outside of class and meet others who might share those passions!

Activity: Reflection

Re-read both Jaime Cortez’ dedication in the opening pages and also Cortez’ Acknowledgements at the end of the book. Then, imagine your own autobiography! Write your dedication and acknowledgements for where you are in your life. This activity is personal and meant for you! We encourage journaling as an activity to support mental health and self-awareness. We also encourage you to share these lists with your adviser in the fall so you both have an understanding of your support system!  

Common Read Committee

  • Mr. Caldwell (English)
  • Dean Camilus (OMA)
  • Ms. Hurley (Health)
  • Ms. Langevin (Health)
  • Ms. Rohloff (Library)
  • Ms. Soucy (Health)
  • Ms. Waterman (Science)

Get In Touch

Phillips Exeter Academy

20 Main Street
Exeter, NH 03885