Brooklyn’s Future Leaders and Changemakers Gather for Aspen Challenge Kickoff

January 24, 2024

Twenty Brooklyn North Public High Schools set to tackle critical community issues at February 6 kickoff event at the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Ben Berliner
Aspen Institute

Brooklyn, NY,  January 24, 2024 — The Aspen Challenge, a program of the Aspen Institute, founded with the Bezos Family Foundation, is returning to Brooklyn for its second year of  programming and events for 20 high schools from across the borough. The initiative, designed to address the most pressing community issues through youth-led projects, will take place at the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal on February 6, 2024.

In partnership with the New York City Public Schools Brooklyn North District, Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn will kick off with a daylong youth leadership development forum on Tuesday, February 6. Teams of students and educators will learn from Brooklyn-based “Expert Challengers,” leaders and thinkers making  a difference in their communities. They will present a series of expert “challenges” to students on topics including hate crime prevention, teen mental health, immigrant justice, environmental advocacy, and more. View highlights from last year’s Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn here.

“We’re thrilled to return to the heart of Brooklyn for the Aspen Challenge,” said Katie Fitzgerald, Managing Director of the Aspen Challenge. “These students aren’t just problem solvers; they’re the agents of a better tomorrow. We can’t wait to see how these young minds ignite change and craft solutions that resonate beyond the city limits.”

After the Challenge Forum on February 6, teams will have ten weeks to create innovative solutions to the challenges, implementing their project in the communities they define. On Thursday, April 18, teams will reconvene to present their solutions to a panel of judges. One winning team will be chosen as the Grand Prize winner for Aspen Challenge 2024 and will be flown to Aspen, Colorado to present their community solution at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June. Other prizes will include schoolroom tech and other items to be announced.

“I cannot be more proud of our partnership with the Aspen Institute and Bezos Family Foundation through the Aspen Challenge program. This is the second year our district has received funding, technical assistance, and support from the Aspen Challenge team,” said Janice Ross, Superintendent – NYC Public Schools/Brooklyn North High Schools.

“Our students continue to raise the bar each year as they tackle social issues with sustaining solutions contributing to the transformation of their communities. I cannot wait to see what our students produce and their solutions as they tackle various community issues and challenges. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Aspen Challenge program, a program that help equip our students with the tools they need to make a lasting impact on society.”

Event speakers and expert Challengers include David C. Banks, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education; Angy Rivera, Co-Executive Director, New York State Youth Leadership Council; Hassan Naveed, Executive Director, NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes; Janice Ross, Superintendent, New York City Department of Education, Brooklyn North High Schools Alex Aide, Director of Programs + Impact, Born This Way Foundation; Kathleen Corradi, Citywide Director of Rodent Mitigation, New York City, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Co-Chair, Climate Justice Alliance, and Executive Director, UPROSE; Natasha Carrizosa, poet and creative writing teacher, with more to be announced.

Media are invited to attend Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn to be in the room as these exceptional students come together to take on big issues and inspire positive change. For media inquiries, please contact To learn more about Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn, visit this link:

Participating Schools:

  • Bedford Academy High School
  • Benjamin Banneker Academy for Community Development
  • Boys and Girls High School
  • Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School
  • Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • East New York Family Academy
  • East Williamsburg Scholars Academy
  • EBC High School for Public Service – Bushwick
  • John Jay Campus
  • Multicultural High School
  • Spring Creek Community School
  • Sunset Park High School
  • Teachers Preparatory High School
  • The Brooklyn School for Social Justice
  • The East New York Arts and Civics High School
  • The High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology
  • William H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School
  • Williamsburg High School for Art and Technology
  • Williamsburg Preparatory High School

The Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to design solutions to some of the most critical problems humanity faces. For more information on Aspen Challenge, please visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit

New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) is the largest public school system in the United States, serving more than 900,000 students in over 1,800 schools. The department is responsible for the education of children from 3K through 12th grade and is overseen by the New York City Schools Chancellor, who is appointed by the Mayor of New York City. The NYCPS’ mission is to ensure that each student graduates on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security, equipped to be a positive force for change. To achieve this goal, the department sets rigorous academic standards, provides resources and support to schools and teachers, and offers a wide range of programs and services to students and families. New York City Public Schools is dedicated to providing all students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life and building a brighter future for the city of New York.

The Brooklyn North High Schools (BKNHS) district represents 47 high schools across seven community school districts in New York City. BKNHS serves approximately 27,000 students from culturally diverse backgrounds including African American/Black, White/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian. Additionally, the district is home to many historical and new immigrants from the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, India, and South Asia. Our schools are as diverse as its student body, comprising large comprehensive high schools, CTE schools, and an array of mid-size and small high schools offering specialized, personalized instructional programs to serve and support the whole child. These differentiated instructional and student services are responsive to the diverse learning needs of students with an emphasis on ensuring that students with disabilities and English Language Learners receive equitable, rigorous instruction and services equal to their peers.



View Comments