Los Angeles Students Gather to Find Bold Solutions for 21st Century Issues

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 8, 2014) -- Today, for the second consecutive year, over 170 high school students, their teachers, principals will gather for the Aspen Challenge: Los Angeles and hear from some of the world’s most provocative and visionary leaders and entrepreneurs who will task them with developing innovative solutions to pressing 21st Century issues.

Students from 17 Los Angeles high schools are immersing themselves in a full day program at Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academies. Dedicated to their discovery of problems that have a global impact on growth and sustainability, each student will ultimately accept the challenge of combining inspiration, collaboration and hands-on innovation to develop solutions that make a lasting difference.

The students, divided into teams of 8, will hear firsthand from a wide group of leaders tackling some of the world’s toughest problems, from environmental issues to poverty and transportation design. Each leader will candidly share the pressing issues that he or she is confronting and then challenge the students to create innovative solutions for their highlighted problems.
 
Featured presenters include: Superintendent John Deasy; world-renowned painter, muralist, community arts pioneer, scholar and educator Judy Baca; LIFT-LA executive director Michelle Rhone-Collins; president of the Aquarium of the Pacific Jerry Schubel; professor of Public Health and Psychiatry and Biobehavioaral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles Alexander Ortega; and more. For a complete list of presenters, visit www.TheAspenChallenge.org 
 
"There is no doubt that the Aspen Challenge changes lives," LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said. "We are excited to engage our students in this transformative experience where teams of students plan and execute solutions for the world ahead of them. They are our next leaders and the future is now."

Over the next seven weeks, students will work on crafting solutions to the challenges they select and pilot these projects in their community. The program culminates on March 29 when teams compete for the chance to take the stage in June at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, where they will present to a gathering of global leaders, policymakers and entrepreneurs.  Only one team will be selected based on their solution’s creativity, feasibility, sustainability and community outreach.

“The bar was set high by our pioneering teams last year, and the impact of their work continues to resonate throughout their communities and beyond. We are thrilled to build on their momentum and see what the new teams design this year,” said Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs and director of the Aspen Ideas Festival. “These student-driven solutions have garnered the support of many, including a new funding partner, the Moriah Fund, and continued support from our founding partner, the Bezos Family Foundation." 

The Aspen Challenge LA, a program of The Aspen Institute, is presented in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation and LAUSD, with support from the Moriah Fund. The Aspen Challenge, now in its second year, will host two seven-week programs in Los Angeles and Denver, Colorado with the idea that it will be established in additional cities across the country in the years to come.
 
Participating High Schools

Abraham Lincoln High School
Arleta High School
Chatsworth Magnet High School
Daniel Pearl Magnet High School
Susan M. Dorsey High School
Eagle Rock High School
Harbor Teacher Prep Academy
James A. Foshay Learning Center
King Drew Magnet High School
Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
Maya Angelou: Global Issues Academy
Mervyn M. Dymally High School
Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School
Reseda High School
Teacher Academy at Cesar Chavez
Ulysses S. Grant High School
Valley Academy of A&S
 
For more information, please visit www.TheAspenChallenge.org or www.facebook.com/TheAspenChallenge. For up-to-date information, visit us on Twitter @AspenInstitute and follow the conversation: #aspenchallenge.

###

About the Aspen Challenge
The Aspen Challenge, a program of The Aspen Institute and presented in partnership with the with the Bezos Family Foundation and LAUSD, with support from the Moriah Fund, provides a platform, inspiration, and tools for young people to design solutions to some of the most critical and complicated problems we face.
 
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. 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.

Contact: Lydia Ramos, Special Assistant, LAUSD Office of the Superintendent, (213) 241-7000