Aspen Challenge: Louisville Postpones Competition Event, Reaffirms Commitment to JCPS Students

March 18, 2020

The Aspen Institute is considering options to reschedule or rethink the competition event so that it can go ahead safely at a later date

Brett Howley
Senior Program Manager, Aspen Challenge
The Aspen Institute

Louisville, KY, March 18, 2020 – Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Aspen Challenge: Louisville Competition event scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 19 is postponed in line with federal and regional guidance, taking into account the closure of JCPS schools until at least April 6. The safety of students, educators, and organizers is of critical importance to the Aspen Institute, although we regret the disappointment caused to students and educators who have spent the past eight weeks working tirelessly to deliver solutions to the most pressing challenges in their communities.

The Aspen Challenge team would also like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to our partners at Jefferson County Public Schools and the nineteen participating schools who have worked so hard on their projects. We are currently considering various options to either reschedule or rethink the competition event so that it can go ahead safely at a later date. Although we are unable to confirm a new date or format while the national and state response to the COVID-19 outbreak is still developing rapidly, we are committed to ensuring that the participants involved have the opportunity to present their work and see their creativity and passion acknowledged.

We will provide an update when more information is available through a media advisory and online at Our thoughts are with the people of Louisville during this time of unprecedented uncertainty. The Aspen Challenge celebrates the spirit of community, and we know that students across the city will be living these values by looking out for one another and those in need.

The Aspen Challenge is a program of the Aspen Institute founded in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation. On January 23, teams of students and teachers from 19 high schools throughout Louisville heard from leaders pioneering change to current societal issues, who issued challenges to the students around topics including access to healthy foods, violence mitigation, identity, vaping, and immigration.

The teams have had have eight weeks to create innovative solutions to the challenges and implement their project in their communities. At the rescheduled competition event, teams will reconvene to present their solutions to a panel of judges comprised of community stakeholders in Louisville. One winning team will be chosen to present their solution in June at the 2020 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

JCPS participating schools in 2020:

  • Butler Traditional High School
  • Central High School, Magnet & Career Academy
  • Doss High School
  • Eastern High School
  • Fern Creek High School
  • J.M. Atherton High School
  • Jefferson County High School
  • Jeffersontown High School
  • Louisville Male High School
  • Marion C. Moore High School
  • Newcomer Academy
  • Pleasure Ridge Park High School
  • Seneca High School
  • Southern High School
  • The Academy at Shawnee
  • The Phoenix School of Discovery
  • Valley Traditional High School
  • Waggener 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.

    The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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