Louisville Students and Communities Triumph During the Aspen Challenge

April 22, 2019

Students rose to the challenge with innovative solutions to pressing issues, with three teams selected to present at the Aspen Ideas Festival

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
202 736 2111 | Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org

Louisville, KY, April 22, 2019 – Jefferson County Public Schools students demonstrated creativity, tenacity, collaboration, perseverance and leadership during the Aspen Challenge Louisville competition during the past two months. On April 17th at the Muhammad Ali Center, three among 17 teams — from Jeffersontown High School, Central High School Magnet Career Academy, and duPont Manual High School — created solutions bold enough to earn a place on the Aspen Ideas Festival stage. All the teams taking part demonstrated many of the skills and attributes necessary to create impactful, sustainable change and address real issues in their communities.

  • The Jeffersontown High School team chose a challenge issued by Neurodiversity Project founder Jenara Nerenberg to remove the stigma around mental health. They created a podcast called “The Umbrella of No Judgement” through which students can anonymously share their stories pertaining to mental health. Throughout their school building, they also displayed positive messages and affirmation boards.
  • Taking on National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen’s challenge to foster civic participation around constitutional issues, Central High School’s team created a forum that would engage their community in conversation. Their first forum addressed police brutality and Miranda rights, and on deck are topics such as women’s rights and sexual assault, voting rights, and freedom of speech in school. They also created a website and began designing an app that would further educate community members.
  • The duPont Manual High School team took on journalist Wajahat Ali’s challenge to integrate and celebrate Louisville’s immigrant communities. After discovering that many immigrants and refugees struggle to find safe, reliable, and affordable transportation, they created an app that utilizes existing rideshare platforms to provide free transportation to these communities. From interviews to grocery shopping, immigrants will no longer face the same geographic and logistical barriers to accessing the full city.

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 Louisville, 140 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 Louisville students to create solutions for issues including health inequities, air pollution, and immigrant communities.

Teams representing 17 schools across the city accepted one of the six presented challenges and had eight weeks to design solutions that would create a better, more equitable Louisville. They then presented their solutions to a panel of judges, with the top three teams earning an all-expense paid trip to present at Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute’s annual flagship gathering of global leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs in Aspen, CO.

Additional awards were presented to teams from Southern High School for People’s Choice and Originality, Georgia Chaffee Teenage Parent Program for Resilience, and Iroquois High School for Collaboration. In partnership with IDEAS xLab, the teams from Marion C. Moore School and J. Graham Brown High School won the Creative Placehealing Award and will present at the Derby Diversity & Business Summit in Louisville on May 1, 2019.

Currently in its seventh year, the Aspen Challenge has previously partnered with the Los Angeles Unified Schools District, Denver Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and the School District of Philadelphia. In addition to Louisville, the Aspen Challenge is also partnering with Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas, this year.

Participating High Schools

Butler Traditional High School

Central High School Magnet Career Academy

DuPont Manual High School

Eastern High School

Fairdale High School

Fern Creek Traditional High School

Georgia Chaffee Teenage Parent Program

Iroquois High School

Jeffersontown High School

J. Graham Brown High School

J. M. Atherton High School

Louisville Male High School

Marion C. Moore High School

Southern High School

The Academy at Shawnee

Valley Traditional High School

Western High School Early College Academy

The Aspen Challenge, a program of The Aspen Institute presented in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, provides a platform, inspiration and tools for young people to design solutions to some of the most critical and complicated problems we face. For more information, please visit aspenchallenge.org

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.


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