An octopus-shaped showerhead? That’s how to get middle-schoolers’ attention

Mike Cline and students
Mike Cline, program coordinator for the Computer-Aided Design and Drafting and Engineering Technology programs at Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology, speaks with students at Eastgate Middle School on Feb. 5.

A Friday lunch period might not seem like the ideal time for a 45-minute presentation in front of dozens of middle school students, but Mike Cline came prepared.

The students at Eastgate Middle School in Kansas City, North, were captivated not only by a box full of items created in the prototype lab at Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology, but also Cline’s story.

Student with printed item
A student at Eastgate Middle School studies an item created on the laser printer in the Fab Lab at MCC-BT.

“If you’d told me I’d be doing this while I was where you guys are right now, I never would have believed you,” said Cline, the Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) and Engineering Technology (ETEC) program coordinator. “I started working in carpentry, and I was good at seeing how things were built and on some of the software programs we used. That’s why I was able to go to college and ended up doing this.”

Cline had two presentations on Feb. 5, both in front of a combination of multiple classes consisting of students interested in fields ranging from math to engineering and much more.

He told the students about the CADD and ETEC pathways at MCC-BT, as well as several of the students who are excelling after receiving certificates and degrees. During the speech, students passed around the items produced in the prototype lab and Fab Lab, including race cars and a showerhead shaped like an octopus.

“This is a great opportunity for us to give the students a chance to see what you can do with advanced training and an education after high school,” said Tim Chambers, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) instructor and coordinator at Eastgate. “We also wanted them to see that they have a great resource in the Business & Technology campus right down the street from us.”

Though their tummies were rumbling, the students managed to stay engaged, in part due to the stories Cline told about former MCC-BT students, including one who drafted a design of a small airplane during class. The student recently emailed Cline with a link to a YouTube video of himself flying the plane he’d designed.

“I think that’s pretty amazing to have former students doing things like that,” Cline said. “It shows you what you can do in our program.”

Students asked several questions, ranging from the cost of the octopus-shaped showerhead (nearly $800 to produce) to the future of 3-D printers.

“Twenty years from now, a lot is going to change, obviously,” Cline said. “I would expect the time component to be quite a bit different. Right now, it’s not practical to mass-produce some of these items because it takes a lot of hours on the printers and a lot of money.”


Learn more about the CADD and ETEC program during our Gold Collar Career Exploration nights at MCC-BT. Our next Gold Collar night is at 6 p.m. March 24. Join us to learn more about Gold Collar jobs ($30,000 to $80,000 per year wages, 8 percent or higher job growth rate and associate degree or less to begin a career). Register online for upcoming Gold Collar Exploration Nights. We also have Gold Collar nights scheduled July 7, Sept. 15 and Dec. 8.


The CADD program includes a certificate and associate of applied science degree, while the ETEC program includes several associate degrees. Lead more about the CADD and ETEC programs online.


View more photos from Mike Cline’s visit to Eastgate Middle School on the MCC-BT Facebook page.