Maker Energy Faire builds trust between students, local businesses

By Allie Carlton

Special to the Culpeper Times

After years of meticulous planning for the opening of the Maker Energy Faire, it finally became a reality.

On Oct. 28 at Eastern View High School, Career Partners and the Culpeper County school system teamed up to put on the faire. This partnership has been going on since 1997 and member Randi Richards-Lutz has been impressed by it.

“It is very unique because it happens nowhere else that I’ve ever seen, and we have built a lot of trust between the business community and the school system,” she said.

One of the main motives behind eagerly wanting to create this was “to unleash the natural creativity in people, especially when they are young,” said New Pathways, LLC member and former Culpeper County Administrator Frank Bossio.

There was a wide range of different tables displaying the creations coming from local community members. There was something for everyone, ranging from Legos for the kids, business creations for adults and cupcakes for all ages.  Everyone was intrigued and had a memorable time. One of the favorites was the “Create a Cupcake” table by CCHS teachers Lisa Frazier and Jay Cohen. The students in Lisa Frazier’s finance class came up with the idea of cupcakes, and then it grew from there.

“We are teaching the kids to decorate cupcakes while using our fake money and allowing our child development students to interact with the kids,” said Frazier. Sophomore Laila Glymph was working the table and she was applying what she has learned in child development class, “It helps by showing how different people and kids interact.”

At the start of the day, the staff hoped for 1,000 people to show up and become immersed in the multiple different activities that were available. After a few hours, it was obvious that their goal would not only be achieved, but even exceeded.

“We have had a huge response. We have had a steady flow of people since 9 a.m.. We had 200 bags to give away and they were gone within the first hour,” said Richards-Lutz. The school was quickly flooded with participants from all ages eager to engage in all the community had to offer.

This faire is only the beginning of a bountiful future. Career Partners started with an Entrepreneurial Energy which developed the class called E Squared which is offered at both Eastern View and Culpeper County High Schools. They followed that up with the development of mock interviews, career expos and most recently the Maker Energy Faire. Building off of the Maker Energy Faire, Career Partners wants to create a “Maker Space.” This will be an open place where inventors can share their new and innovative ideas.

“We are hoping that this is going to be the seed and foundation of the Makers Energy program that Career Partners is hoping to launch in the near future,” said Culpeper Chamber of Commerce President/CEO David Durr. The third stage is Virtual Learning and Virtual Reality. Although unsure of the start of Virtual Reality, they are eager to move forward to plan the next best thing.


Why I joined E-Squared: Allie Carlton

Career Partners has made a huge impact in the community ever since it was founded in 1997. They started with Entrepreneurial Energy which was the launching pad for the business class, E Squared, at both Culpeper County High School and Eastern View. I was told by my teacher at the time, Mrs. Wendy Nerkowski, that taking E Squared would benefit me greatly. From what I had heard from other students I was on the edge. They had talked about how, in order for you to be successful within the program, you would have to prioritize it over everything else. Nonetheless I decided to accept the challenge and see what journey it would take me on. Looking at where I am now and who I am now, I owe a lot of it to what I learned in that class and all the extraordinary people I met from Career Partners.

My E Squared teacher, Mrs. Beth Lane, asked me and my friend Ryan Eakins to have a table at the Maker Energy Faire. Although I was uncertain on what the faire was, I knew that it involved Career Partners and I was instantaneously on board with it. Through the Faire I got to talk to other community members not only about the benefits of E Squared but about how much I have learned from the members of Career Partners that I had the pleasure to meet.


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Jeff Say is the editor for the Culpeper Times. He can be reached at