AMP’d: A Showcase of Student Leadership

Jennifer Gravlee

A long celebrated tradition at Aspen Academy is our bi-weekly community wide showcase of student learning and leadership, known as AMP’d (Aspen Morning Program). It is a jam-packed thirty minute variety show, written, produced, and performed by our students. The energy of these mornings is contagious and instills a sense of student pride and belonging, making it a beloved aspect of our Aspen Academy programming. 


Bear’s Student Enterprises (BSE): Students Learning Business Skills

When you walk into the building that morning you will be greeted with a smile from our 8th grade BSE Cafe students as they offer you a warm cup of coffee, a donut, or a breakfast sandwich to enjoy while eagerly waiting for the auditorium doors to open. After purchasing your delicious treat you can head into the BSE Store and purchase the latest Aspen gear from one of our 8th grade workers. As you enjoy our student-run businesses in the lobby, our BSE Broadcast students are working hard inside the auditorium running the sound and lighting boards, getting mic’d up, and helping our performers (which consist of two grade levels) get set up to show off the academic or leadership segment that they have constructed and practiced over the past few weeks. When the doors open at 8:30 you simply come in, choose one of our available comfortable chairs then sit back and enjoy the show.

BSE Cafe students ready to serve crowds

The Show

You will have the honor of watching our student news anchors, our student National Anthem singer, talent corner, and two grade-level performances. All of this magic happens because 8th grade teachers and our performing arts instructors mentor our students by showing their support, coaching and encouraging students along the way. AMP’d is the perfect example of team collaboration and leadership.

BSE Broadcast student skit


The Goal: Leadership in Practice

This program was created to allow our scholars the chance to really shine and use their strengths and talents. AMP’d gives students various leadership opportunities from working in the cafe to running a soundboard. It allows our students to gain life skills such as public speaking, customer service, stage performance, and become tech-savvy.  All of the students have a voice in the planning phases and are able to collaborate with their peers to ensure they produce an energetic and meaningful production. In addition, the program puts purpose behind academic and leadership learning. Students master content with a greater level of proficiency when they showcase it for others. You will feel the energy and excitement from all of our audience members, as our students sit with their peer mentors and scream the start time countdown together. The experience and memories that are made in the auditorium are ones they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Students Performing original song at AMPd

We invite all of our community to come and experience this unique program we know as AMP’d.


To watch our OCT 1 AMP’d click here.

About the Author

Jennifer Gravlee, Aspen Leadership Institute Coach

Jennifer was born and raised in Bartlett, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in Elementary Education. She brings 7 years of teaching experience to Aspen and loves helping children grow and learn. She can best be described as energetic, outgoing, passionate and optimistic.



B.S., Elementary Education & Special Education, University of Memphis