Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn Culminates in Solution Showcase

April 19, 2024

Twenty student teams present inspiring solutions for community change created over ten-week program

Contact: Ben Berliner
Aspen Institute

Brooklyn, NY, April 19 – The winner of Aspen Challenge: Brooklyn was announced Thursday, April 18 at the culminating Solution Showcase. At the event, student creativity, tenacity, collaboration, perseverance, and civic leadership were on full display. Teams representing 20 schools across Brooklyn North High Schools accepted one of the five presented challenges, and had ten weeks to design solutions that would create a better, more equitable community. They then presented their solutions to a panel of judges, with the winning team earning an all-expense paid trip to present at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute’s annual flagship gathering of global leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs in Aspen, CO. The grand prize winner is: Multicultural High School whose project, “Immigr8,” hosted events and created spaces for students and their families to honor the diversity of their majority-immigrant school community and to access the rights and opportunities available to them as residents of New York City.

Second place was awarded to Brooklyn Technical High School whose project, “Eraticators,” addressed New York’s growing rat problem in their home community of Fort Greene by facilitating workshops designed to change neighbors’ attitudes about waste management and the role that it plays in rodent mitigation.

Third place was awarded to Williamsburg Preparatory High School whose project, “Living Labs,” equipped elementary school students with knowledge and resources to grow their own food in the event of a climate emergency by using hydroponics.

Launched by the Aspen Institute and Bezos Family Foundation in 2012, the Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to address critical issues and become leaders in their communities. In Brooklyn, 150+ students’ Aspen Challenge journey began in February with a day of inspiration and engagement from cross-sector leaders. During the Opening Forum, these leaders challenged Brooklyn students to create solutions to issues ranging from hate crime prevention to mental health support.

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.

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