An incredible “Lifecycle” team of 8 students from the Valley Academy of Arts & Sciences (VAAS) in Granada Hills successfully completely the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Challenge, a competition among 17 Los Angeles Unified School District high schools focused on creating innovative solutions to important issues within the community. 
The team worked on empowering people in the community to make healthy choices regarding what they eat and their activities and VAAS was the grand prize winner which included a trip to Aspen to present their proposal and exchange ideas with other regional winners.  Prior to their trip, they visited the District Office in Chatsworth to share their story. Led by teacher Lynn Ryan, their presentation was so impressive that they have since been invited to speak at a National Health Conference by University of California, Los Angeles’ Center for Health Equity Professor, Alex Ortega. 

Launched in a different city each year, the Aspen Challenge begins with a forum for students and teachers from partner high schools. At the forum, leaders pioneering change to some of the world’s most pressing issues present challenges to the teams. Equipped with tools and support, teams then design a solution to their selected challenge. Seven weeks later, they present their solutions on stage in a daylong competition, and teams are selected to advance and showcase their work at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

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 has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. 

Congratulations to our amazing VAAS students!