Tim Kenny:
Computer and
Information Technology

Prove them wrong.

That phrase is tattooed on the forearm of 2024 Lorain County Community College graduate Tim Kenny. He’s been doing that since the day he was born.

Tim, 22, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth. His mother, Robin, and her husband, Sean, adopted Tim when he was five days old, pre-diagnosis.

The doctors had a done an MRI of his brain and identified an area that they thought might cause some difficulties,” Robin said.  

Even after Tim’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy, which is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture, only time would tell what symptoms he would have and how severe they would be.

“He was a typical baby all the way until he hit about 12 months,” Robin said. “At 12 months, he was not walking. He’s getting frustrated. You could see the frustration.”

His parents began physical therapy for Tim. And then occupational therapy. And then speech therapy.

“We kind of just kept adding and adding and adding,” Robin said.

By the time Tim was in preschool it became clear he might never talk, but he didn’t need words to express his intelligence. His special needs teacher recognized this, and the school approved the purchase of an expensive augmented device so he could type in, and digitally vocalize his thoughts. He uses a version of this device today.

Throughout his schooling, Tim had both detractors telling him he couldn’t, and supporters telling him he could. Physically, he has limited mobility in his hands and a contracted left arm. But for the most part, he has proved he can do everything his peers could do. It simply takes Tim more time.

“Those everyday things people take for granted, like getting out bed and getting dressed, might take me and you five minutes. It could take Tim an hour.”

Despite this, Tim was an active child. He began playing soccer and stuck with the sport for 15 years. And then, in seventh grade, his physical triumphs were complemented by a mental-confidence breakthrough. Robin calls it his “amazing shift.”

“He was understanding everything in school. Everything was clicking,” she said. “He was getting his homework done.”

That shift, supported by educational advocates within the Avon Lake school system, stayed with Tim. He leaned into his mantra. Prove them wrong. It’s equally inspiring and heartbreaking.

“I know people look at me differently than they look at themselves,” Tim says. “And I always want to prove them wrong.”


Robin said ‘prove them wrong’ was Tim’s thought processes long before Kai, a good friend of his now serving in the U.S. Army, gifted him a bracelet bearing the same message. Long before he made those words a permanent part of his physical self. 

“People do have preconceived notions,” Robin said. “I can tell you multiple things that he’s had to walk away from because of how others treated him.”

When it came to college, however, there was never any doubt he would go. Walking away from earning a degree was not an option.

“He always wanted to move on after high school,” Robin said. “He wants a job in a field he loves, just like everyone else.”

Because of his grades, Tim earned the Presidential Scholarship to Lorain County Community College. The choice seemed obvious. LCCC’s nearby campus let him stay close to home and family, and the flexible schedule allowed him to work part time. Robin contacted the college’s accessibility services, which partners with the campus community to create equitable access to eligible students, while promoting disability as one aspect of diversity.

“From the beginning, we’ve had great support at LCCC,” Robin said. “The learning specialist, Jody Haserodt — amazing. It’s so fun watching any of your kids make that transition, but it especially was with him.”

Accessibility services helped Tim purchase specialized technology to support him in class and provided accommodations, like having a scribe take notes for him and allowing for extended testing time.

“The support and assistance at Lorain County Community College was truly top notch,” Tim said. “It was all just making sure that I succeeded. I honestly don’t know where I would be without the guidance of LCCC.”

LCCC support provided Tim with a more equitable campus setting, but it’s clear his determination and drive comes from within. He says that to simply “live normally” he needs to work harder than most others. But that never slowed him down, it’s done the opposite.

“Tim is very driven,” Robin said. “He has been told multiple times by multiple people that he would not be able to do things in life, whether it be write, drive a car, build with Legos or play a particular Nintendo game. Once you tell Tim he can’t do something, he generally finds a way to do it. Maybe it’s not the conventional way, but he does find a way to do it.”

In May 2024, Tim will do what some doubted he would. He will graduate from LCCC with an associate of science in data and analytics. After that, Tim plans to enroll in LCCC’s University Partnership to earn his bachelor’s degree from Western Governors University. He’s also working with a job specialist to start his career in data analytics and hopes to work in the sports industry one day.

“Data puts another whole different perspective into the world,” he said, “I’m good, analytically speaking. I love how numbers shape the world.”

Robin said Tim’s three years at LCCC have been transformational for them both. She used to be involved in every part of his campus life, from making phone calls on his behalf to checking in with professors. Now, he’s doing it all. Including impacting others.

“He’s touched more people’s lives than you can imagine,” she said. “And he’s had some good people in his life who have stuck around him.”

No doubt those who have stuck around will be at LCCC on May 11 to watch Tim walk across the commencement stage and accept his diploma. It will be one moment in time that, for Tim, represents a lifetime of breaking down barriers, whether they were put in his way by cerebral palsy or those who doubted him. It will be a moment to recognize that he has and will continue to prove them wrong.

“I want to thank my parents for pushing me and putting me on the best possible path to success,” Tim said. “I had to overcome many obstacles to get where I am today, and I’m going to keep grinding.”


“The support and assistance at Lorain County Community College was truly top notch.”
- Tim Kenny, LCCC 2024 graduate