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Videos: Students Inspire Change for Challenge 5280

Mar. 6, 2017

Video Essay: Our Students Making a Change with Challenge 5280

There’s something incredible about seeing the change you wish to see come to life. Throughout the school year, hundreds of DPS high school students have engaged in implementing that change through Challenge 5280, a student leadership competition.

Students develop innovative ways to make their school communities more equitable, and, in turn, to advocate for social justice. Learn more about the challenge and see how some of our schools participated in these quick DPS Features videos:

Challenge 5280: Watch this video summary of the competition.


DSST Cole: Making their school a healthier (and better hydrated) place. Watch now.


Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy: Connecting cultures within the school community. Watch now.


Abraham Lincoln: Streamlining how students share ideas with educators. Watch now.


DCIS: Developing workshops to better diversify the school’s student leadership. Watch now.


When a city, neighborhood or school seeks change, what can you as one person really do? That question is at the heart of Challenge 5280, the annual DPS student leadership competition inviting high school students to take on – and dispel – the inequities they see in their spheres of influence.

Through collaboration and plenty of trial and error, students develop innovative ways to promote social change and improvement while transforming their school communities to better reflect their diversity and support their needs.   Teams begin by taking on a challenge – whether it is to make a school healthier, a student body more engaged or a community feeling more included – that best addresses the things their peers (as recommended through a survey) see as critical to their well-being. The challenges teams take on look unique in every school, as every neighborhood has unique challenges.

“This year, we were trying to get social equality for all students who speak English as a second language,” said Levi DeLude, a sophomore at West Early College. “85% of our students have Spanish as a native language, while 45% didn’t feel they had proper resources at school.”

Many schools throughout the city held community forums to showcase diversity, discuss political issues such as executive orders on immigration or address segregation between neighborhoods and school programs. “It’s not really about the winning, it’s about the change you make,” said Ampa’o Locke, a senior at DCIS (Denver Center for International Studies – Baker). “If I don’t win, it’s fine. I’m making change.”

Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design won the peoples’ choice award at this year’s competition. DCIS took first place overall, while Denver South High School took second. Denver North High School and DSST: Green Valley Ranch split third place. All teams will go to the Allied Media Conference this summer, while Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, who won best exhibit, received season passes to Elitch Gardens.