Virtual Academy Wins First Place at MEEC Maker Faire

Arms up
Virtual Academy students, from left to right, Annabelle Abernathy, Violett Dakin, Allan Housler, Charles Poutsma, and Yolotli Arias.
By Mary Eller
Team Advisor
March 9th was a long anticipated day for the “Power Our Future” club at the Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy. A small group of students had been working on a project since the middle of December, 2023. They were now ready to present to a panel of judges and other schools’ clubs from all over the high desert at the annual Mojave Environmental Educational Consortium Maker Faire and competition.

The competition portion of the Faire was to address a specific theme with a project consisting of 3 components.  The students would be judged on an essay explaining their solution to the theme, a model of the city, and a presentation / question and answer session with a 3 judge panel. The task was to design a sustainable city that features a resilient power grid that could withstand and quickly recover from a natural disaster. Students were required to include sustainable design concepts within their city. They chose Power Plants/Stations, Waste Disposal, Recycling and Agriculture. 

Upon arrival, the nervous team was greeted by MEEC Maker Faire coordinator Samantha Duvall. The students then headed to the theatre to hear the keynote speaker, Joel Greene, host of Curiosity Quest and Our California. Next, students participated in the Maker Faire where they shared their model with other students. They enjoyed activities from presenting companies like Mitsubishi Cement Company Educational Foundation, NASA - Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, Mojave Air Quality Management District, Victor Valley Transit, and Mojave River Watershed Group, to name a few. Students learned that companies across the high desert are making a difference in protecting our environment and solving environmental issues just like the students did with their project. 
Dave Rib
David Rib of Mitsubishi Cement Corp. and an MEEC representative joins the Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy team after the members received their first place award.

Finally, it was time for the judging.  The team presented their model, design concepts, and solution for this year’s theme.  The judges were impressed with the model and they received multiple compliments from judges, teachers, and students.  

The Fair ended with the sustainable city project awards. The Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy team listened nervously as the 3rd and 2nd place winners were announced.  Now was the time to announce the 1st place winners and award the $300 prize money. The first place winners were…Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy. 

As our adventure came to a close, the team celebrated with ice cream as the students discussed that the months of work and preparation did pay off. The question they left with was, what will we do next year?!

Mary Eller teaches elementary school-aged students at the Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy. She also serves as the school’s advisor for its “Power Our Future Club.”
Group with Guest Speaker
Even keynote speaker Joel Greene, host of Curiosity Quest and Our California, joins the Lucerne Valley contingent for a photo.
duo 1
Another duo
Another pic
Fair eyes
faire girl