Aspen Challenge: Miami Culminates in Solution Showcase

April 29, 2021

Students create impactful change in their communities over the ten-week program

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Miami, FL, April 29, 2021 – Student winners of the 10-week Aspen Challenge: Miami were announced at the 2-day Solution Showcase on Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23, where student creativity, tenacity, collaboration, perseverance, and civic leadership were on full display. Twenty teams from Miami-Dade County Public Schools presented their bold solutions to combat critical issues within their communities over Zoom to a panel of judges comprised of local Miami leaders. Solutions ranged from a school-wide compost program to a financial literacy course for students and parents alike. The teams demonstrated many of the skills and attributes necessary to create impactful, sustainable change and addressed real issues in their communities. The grand prize winners were Team YOU MATTER! from Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center (COPE South), Team Progressors Over Poverty from Miami Norland Senior High School, and Team Agents of Change from Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

  • Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center- COPE South chose the challenge on mental health issued by social entrepreneur Solome Tibebu. Team YOU MATTER! designed a program that provides support and motivation for youth of all cultures experiencing social and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, parental concerns, gender identification, and general stress.
  • Miami Norland Senior High School chose the poverty alleviation challenge issued by Helah Robinson of LIFT, to increase financial literacy and create awareness of resources such as banking options for students to form a better future for families in their community. The goal was to ensure that all young people understand that poverty is not a lone fight, and there are places to lean on when you are falling behind.
  • Miami Palmetto Senior High School chose a challenge issued by Leisha John of Ernst & Young, which asked teams to enhance the environmental literacy of their classmates. Team Agents of Change fostered climate literacy and sparked civic action in their community by hosting cross-generational youth-led conversations on climate change to enact legislation to reduce Miami’s carbon footprint.

Winning teams received a MacBook Pro laptop, AirPod Max headphones, and $2,500 scholarships for continuing education.

Launched by the Aspen Institute and the 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 Miami, 160 students and 40 educators embarked on the Aspen Challenge journey in February with a day of inspiration and engagement from cross-sector leaders. During the Challenge Forum, these leaders challenged Miami students to create solutions for issues including environmental literacy, inclusive communities, environmental literacy, gun violence, mental health and poverty alleviation. Teams representing twenty high schools from across the county accepted one of the five challenges presented and had ten weeks to design solutions that would create a better, more equitable Miami.

Additional awards were presented to teams from North Miami Senior High School for People’s Choice, John A. Ferguson Senior High School for Collaboration, Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School for Originality, and Homestead Senior High School for Resilience.

Currently in its ninth 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, the School District of Philadelphia, the Dallas Independent School District, Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.

Participating Schools

  • Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School
  • Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center (COPE South)
  • Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School
  • Hialeah Senior High School
  • Homestead Senior High School
  • International Studies Preparatory Academy (ISPA)
  • iTech @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center
  • John A. Ferguson Senior High School
  • José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy
  • Miami Coral Park Senior High School
  • Miami Jackson Senior High School
  • Miami Norland Senior High School
  • Miami Palmetto Senior High School
  • Miami Southridge Senior High School
  • Miami Springs Senior High School
  • North Miami Beach Senior High School
  • North Miami Senior High School
  • Robert Morgan Educational Center
  • Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School
  • Southwest Miami Senior High School


The inaugural Aspen Challenge launched in collaboration with Los Angeles Unified School District in 2013. Since its inception, the Challenge has expanded to include partnerships with school districts in Denver, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Louisville. Miami marks the eighth partnership between the Aspen Challenge and cities across the United States.


For more information on Aspen Challenge: Miami Challenge, please contact Jon Purves, Senior Manager of Media Relations, Aspen Institute at

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


Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), an A-rated district, is the nation’s fourth largest school system with nearly 400 schools and a diverse enrollment of more than 350,000 students from over 160 countries. Our ongoing tradition of groundbreaking achievement has earned top recognition at the national and international levels. M-DCPS also recently reached a landmark graduation rate of 89.2 percent. For five decades, M-DCPS has been a leader in Choice, now offering more than 1,000 cutting-edge, award-winning programs designed to prepare students for 21st century learning in the age of innovation and technology. Students and their families play an active role in choosing educational opportunities that foster academic excellence, school-to-career pathways and real-world learning.

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