Ready to Lead: Watch Louisville High School Students Take On the Aspen Challenge

February 28, 2019, Louisville, KY – A new city, a new opportunity to make change.

This year, The Aspen Challenge partnered with the Jefferson County Public Schools to launch in Louisville, Kentucky. At the Aspen Challenge: Louisville Opening Forum, 144 high schoolers came together at the Muhammad Ali Center to hear challenges about issues impacting their community. For Merion C. Moore School freshman Josue Velasquez, he’s excited for this opportunity to make an impact and have his voice heard.

Each year, the Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to design solutions to address critical issues. Louisville teams will be addressing local and national problems like air pollution, forced labor, immigration, health inequity, civic participation, and mental health. In teams of eight students and two educator coaches, they’ll design solutions to their chosen challenge and present them to a panel of judges and peers for a chance to bring their ideas to the Aspen Ideas Festival stage this summer.

I hope that we can do something sustainable so that it can continue, and I can feel like I left a mark on my community and it’s something that will continue after I graduate.

-Leigh Henry, J. Graham Brown High School, junior


At Opening Forum, they heard from inspirational speakers including Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio, Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield, New York Times writer Wajahat Ali, Snapchat’s Erica Williams Simon, and poet Harold Green. In eight weeks, they’ll be the ones taking the stage to present their solutions and inspire us.

Youth today are the most valuable resource when it comes to shaping the world. If our voices are smothered, if we aren’t heard, our ideas aren’t put to work, and we aren’t put to the challenge- it’s a waste of a resource.

-November Offutt, Waggener High School, junior

Check out the challenges issues at the Aspen Challenge: Louisville Opening Forum  at