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Spicewood students pitch restaurant models to industry professionals

Spicewood Elementary School MakerSpace

Spicewood Elementary School students pitch a concept for a restaurant to Jason Harmon (right), a regional director for Jason’s Deli. The project, which tasked students with planning, researching, and building model restaurants for review, was part of the school’s MakerSpace program. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

Students at Spicewood Elementary School displayed handmade restaurant models and pitched business concepts to industry professionals Wednesday, Dec. 15, in the school’s MakerSpace workshop. The project, which was organized by MakerSpace and Gifted and Talented instructor Cari Orts, tasked third- to fifth-grade students with creating a restaurant that would appeal to residents. 

“The community involvement is the last step in our building process, and we are essentially asking them which restaurant they feel fits best in Spicewood,” Orts said in a media release from the school. 

Students created their restaurants over the past two months, splitting the work into three phases: planning, researching, and building. Each model had to include seating for at least 10 guests, space for a kitchen and a bathroom, and a billboard to draw in customers. Students also curated a full-size restaurant menu with item descriptions and prices. 

By the end of the program, students constructed more than 40 model restaurants. 

Spicewood Elementary student Claire Failero with her Lizard Cafe
Third-grader Claire Failero displayed her Lizard Cafe model restaurant in the MakerSpace workshop at Spicewood Elementary School. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

The top 18 projects were displayed to industry professionals Casie Hall, director of operations for Pizzeria Sorellina, and Jason Harmon, regional director for Jason’s Deli, who gave each project a 1-10 grade and provided every student with specialized feedback. Josh Jackson, social and emotional behavior coach and the school’s resident foodie, also gave reviews. 

Restaurant concepts included food trucks, outdoor restaurants, and several with animal themes. Third-grader Claire Failero used her love of lizards to inspire the concept for her restaurant, which she named Lizard Cafe. Her model featured colorful restaurant furniture and a lizard-shaped slide. 

“I worked really hard on it,” Failero said with a smile.

The project was part of the school’s MakerSpace program, which offers students hands-on learning opportunities that involve critical thinking and creativity and is funded by Marble Falls Education Foundation grants. Previous MakerSpace projects included cobbling shoes that were auctioned off to raise funds for the Highland Lakes Crisis Network