A week before Kaden Amigon-Suiter graduated from high school, he crossed the stage at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ (EICC) Commencement ceremony and was awarded a certificate in Criminal Justice. The 16 college credits he earned - at no cost - will be used at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), where he plans to double major in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 

Amigon-Suiter was a junior at Columbus Community High School when he expressed an interest in law enforcement. That sparked school staff to tell him about EICC’s Criminal Justice Career Academy. He didn’t hesitate to sign up, taking the opportunity to explore the career field and launch his college education at the same time.  

The first semester, Amigon-Suiter attended high school in the morning and Career Academy classes in the afternoon at Muscatine Community College (MCC). For the second semester, all his classes were at MCC. 

He explored the role of the Criminal Justice system in society and recommendations for reform. He studied ethics, the corrections system, and the probation and parole system. He learned about the different career paths and went on tours. “I got to learn more about law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and it opened my eyes to all the opportunities I’d have,” Amigon-Suiter said.   

EICC’s 16 Career Academy programs give high school students a free head start on their career education. They aren’t charged tuition and can graduate with a semester to a full year of college credit. It can be used toward a diploma or degree with EICC, or like Amigon-Suiter, the credits can be transferred to a four-year college or university.  

He left for UNI this summer, arriving with a semester-worth of college credit and three scholarships recognizing his hard work; one each for football, academics, and RISE. Amigon-Suiter's goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually become an Iowa State Trooper.  

“It was amazing. Everyone should do it,” he said about the Criminal Justice Career Academy. “It was a great opportunity, and I took full advantage of it. Now I can say I graduated college before I graduated high school.”