Author Archive for Steve

Criminal Justice Class for STAR Achievers

On November 10 the STAR Achievers attended a Criminal Justice event at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center.  The class was hosted by Mr Joe Schmitz who is a retired Cedar Rapids police officer and the Criminal Justice instructor at Kirkwood.  Mr Schmitz arranged for each STAR student to be paired with a student at Kirkwood who helped guide them through the “investigation” in the case of “Who Hurt Timmy Tupperware” .  The STAR students and their Kirkwood counterparts were assigned a case and they conducted an investigation.   Our sincere thanks to Mr Schmitz and his Kirkwood students for their time and effort which made this event a huge success.


On 11/10/2018 witnesses reported that they heard a scream coming from an office (Room 318) at the Linn County Regional Center at Kirkwood Community College. When the first officers arrived they found a man, Timmy Tupperware on the floor of the office (Room 318) with a head injury. Timmy was taken to the hospital but no other evidence was touched.

Witnesses saw someone go to room 408 and then to the shop in the regional center after the initial scream.

Your Job is to work with your investigative team to try to solve the mystery of who beat up Timmy Tupperware.

STAR Achievers visit Cassill Collision

Brad and the STAR Achievers

The students in the STAR Achiever Program attended a short class on Auto Tech and Collision on October 6th at the Kirkwood Regional Center.  As a follow up to that event, they visited Cassill Collision in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 3 to see what a real collision center was like.  They were met by Brad, the manager of the Cassill Collision Center who explained the function of the collision center and gave a general overview of what the students would see during their visit.  They visited the “exam room” where damaged vehicles are evaluated and an estimate for repairs is created.  Next they saw cars in various stages of repair.  First the damaged parts are removed and either replaced with new or repaired in the shop.  After all repairs are made, the vehicles are painted.  Students saw how the color and shade of paint is determined, how it is mixed and the huge number of paint samples that need to be matched to the exact shade and color of auto being repaired.  Brad showed them some cars with repairs complete  and they tried to identify the location of the initial damage.  They also got to look at a list of pictures of damaged cars that had been brought to Cassill for repair.  The most popular was a car that ran into a deer.

The STAR Achiever Program owes a special thanks to Cassill Collision.  When this program was developed 2 years ago,  The Cassill  organization decided this was a good cause and provided transportation for the program. Without their support, the STAR Achiever Program would not have become a reality and we owe a special thanks to Brad, Mike and the Cassill organization for partnering with the program.



STAR Achievers visit Kirkwood Advanced Manuf. and Welding

STAR Achievers with Sarah Washler Kirkwood’s Career Development Coordinator

On November third our class of STAR Achievers were given a class in Advanced Manufacturing and Welding at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center.   Mr John Hassen is the instructor that led the event and he enlisted the aid of  two Kirkwood students, Joey Shoemaker and Corbin Burg to help with the presentation.   Our STAR Achievers saw a video which showed a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine convert square block of metal into a motorcycle helmet.  They then watched an actual CNC machine in the classroom turn out identical machined parts  and each student was allowed to take one home.  The “virtual welder” was a big hit with our group.  They had a contest to see who could achieve the highest score and  77 was the top.  After the virtual welder, they went into a welding booth and saw a real welder in use.

Students at the junior and senior level  can take these courses while in high school and earn 3 national metal working and industry certifications with no expense to the student.  They are then eligible for immediate entry-level employment  upon graduation from high school.  Average starting hourly wage in Iowa for certified employees are Machinist: $17.19, Welder: $16.22, CNC machine programmer: $21.98.