Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

The Showcase of Opportunity

Posted 12/01/2023 by Emanuel Morales-Gomez

The Maker Faire is replacing the CCT open house to represent the unique classes that  TJ offers.

The Maker Faire has hit TJ like a storm, with Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes, clubs, and extracurricular programs scrambling to plan out ways to showcase their work to prospective eighth graders. However, this begs the question: what is the Maker Faire? 

The Maker Faire company defines the event as “a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration” of creators. For senior Jesse Mishell, the project lead of the Maker Faire, it means a lot more. For him, this event is “an expo for CTE students to spread information, enhance their skills, and engage in workshops to understand their [future] pathways.” Jonathan Howard, a Careers and Communication Technology (CCT) teacher and the advisor of SkillsUSA, explained that the purpose of the Maker Faire is to “give students the opportunity to present their work and garner interest for the CCT program.” 

Although the Maker Faire is a showcase of CTE and extracurricular programs offered here at TJ, there is another side to it that will benefit students interested in the skilled trades. Emily Bobrick, TJ’s Career Navigator, explained that the other element of the Maker Faire is “to bring in business and industry professionals so that current TJ students can see what kind of careers and postsecondary opportunities are available for them in their pathway.”Bobrick is working on bringing in business and industry partners to come to the Maker Faire in order to help them “ learn about what high school students are doing and potentially partner with TJ,” and also so they can “work with students to develop them into people that they want in their workforce.” Hopefully, students will learn what is needed from them in the workforce and get insight into what their future may hold for them through workshops led by business and industry partners. 

The planning for the Maker Faire has been extensive, with Monday meetings consisting of chapter officers from DECA and SkillsUSA, meetings with teachers, and outreach to business and industry partners. Mishell envisions the Maker Faire to be “an event that allows everyone to get a greater understanding about what technical education is and why it is important.” Howard wants the Maker Faire to feel like an “open house,” where students can roam around the different classrooms and participate in workshops that pique their interests. 

A common misconception about the Maker Faire is that it is only focused on the CCT program and CTE classes; however, those are only a small part of the event. Senior Mattie Brightwell, TJ’s stage manager, explained that the Maker Faire is “an opportunity for lesser known programs to appeal to prospective students.” Brightwell believes that “theatre is an amazing way for students to learn technical skills. It is great for people who not only want to go into the skilled trades, but also experience theatre.” For the Maker Faire, Brightwell plans to “walk kids through past set pieces and allow students to experience a senior tech tradition of spray painting their names on a wall.”

Students who are interested in attending will be excited to know that not only will there be food provided, but “it will be a fabulous experience for people who are interested in our CCT program,” Mishell explained. Bobrick also pointed out that students will be able to see the “direct connection between middle school and high school,” and current high school students will be able to see “what TJ is doing and how they can integrate the skills they learned into society” through the business and industry workshops. The Maker Faire will also give students the chance to see the affinity groups TJ has, such as the Black Student Alliance (BSA), so they can see the diversity TJ supports. 

From theater’s tech and crew  to JROTC to photography, the Maker Faire will be a new opportunity for the TJ community to explore programs and classes that students can take. It will be hosted at TJ on December 6, 2023, and will run from 5:00 to 7:30 pm, with 25 minute workshops led by students as well as business and industry professionals. Spartans and future Spartans, get ready for an event full of fun, creativity, and engagement!