Press Release
Posted February 23, 2018

Elyria’s Kenneth Glynn recognized at Achieving the Dream’s 14th annual DREAM Conference

A crowd of 2,300 higher education leaders rose to their feet after listening to an original, heartfelt poem from Lorain County Community College graduate, Kenneth Glynn on Feb. 20, in Nashville, TN. In his poem, Glynn shared a self-described roller coaster journey, from being laid off from a steel mill to embarking on a new career path at Lorain County Community College to being recognized as a 2018 DREAM Scholar by Achieving the Dream—the nation’s leading organization in improving student success.

Kenneth Glynn

Glynn was one of seven students—out of 68 applicants from 40 colleges in the nation—to receive the honor of DREAM Scholar. All were asked to write poems to present at the 14th annual DREAM Conference, which draws higher education leaders, policy-makers, investors, thought leaders, and practitioners.

Glynn, 52, was one of just two scholars selected to read his original poem and give a speech at the opening of the conference. The audience was captivated by Glynn’s raw, emotional prose, in which he shared a life filled with challenges.

“I was small-framed, hard-nose, not taking anything from anyone, sharp-dressing brother. 

I come from struggling with my emotions.
I come from barriers that I had to knock down to save my life.”

He then reflected on the life-changing choice he made to attend Lorain County Community College.

“I come from Lorain County Community College where my dreams became a reality.
Where everyone smiles and shares in successes
where people like me rise to the next level
where our dreams become the keys to unlocking our once trapped lives.”

When Glynn finished his poem, the audience erupted into a standing ovation.

“Hearing Ken share his story in such a beautiful way was a very special moment,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “He let so many people into his life journey and showed them how education really does change lives. Ken’s words brought us all to our feet and many of us to tears.”

Those who speak to Glynn can feel his passion, caring nature, drive and humility. He has lived his life by strong values rooted in hard work and dedication. But the struggles he faced as a child growing up in Elyria didn’t evade him as an adult.



In 2015, Glynn was laid off from his job at the steel mill and found himself unemployed for the first time in nearly 30 years. After a decade in the United States Army and 19 years at the steel mill, Glynn had reached yet another moment in his life that was going to define his future.

“I was dealing with the pressures of losing my job and for the second time, finding myself changing careers,” Glynn said. “It made me have to reach deep down into my inner-self to find the strength to be motivated and have the discipline to stay on course to achieve a dream that I carried from the moment I graduated from high school, way back in 1984.”

Glynn began his educational journey through LCCC’s SAIL (Students Accelerating in Learning) program, which provides personalized advising, tuition assistance and gas cards for qualified students. Even though at first, he said he wasn’t sure about going to college, his advisors and instructors offered support along the way that allowed him to complete his goal.

“While standing outside of the iLOFT building during my first semester talking with other displaced workers, we felt like we had our heads in the ground like ostriches as we were over our heads,” Glynn said. “The only reason we were there was because of our unemployment but now I see how much I have gained and I am so thankful to LCCC for giving me that opportunity.”

His former math instructor, Carolyn Gang, was especially helpful in keeping him on track by going above and beyond. She regularly stayed after class or came in on the weekend to tutor students and make sure Glynn and his fellow classmates understood the material.

“Without her support and the support of the SAIL program, I never would have earned my associate degree. There are so many angels at LCCC,” he said.

Glynn earned his first associate degree in business administration in only 18 months in May 2017. After he completes his second associate degree — this one in liberal arts — Glynn will start working toward his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Cleveland State University through LCCC’s University Partnership.

Glynn, a first-generation college student, is also looking beyond his own educational goals and finding ways to give back to the community he talked about in his poem — a community he knows is filled with barriers to education.

“One of the core components of Achieving the Dream is its focus on helping students overcome the many challenges they face throughout their educational journey,” Ballinger said. This promise was taken to the next level at the end of the conference when Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner surprised Glynn and the other DREAM scholars with a $1,100 scholarship on the last day of the event.

Ballinger continued, “Education is the most powerful driver of social mobility. And part of our mission is to make sure every student in Lorain County has a clear pathway toward educational attainment and ultimately, a brighter future. Just like Ken.”

Poem by Kenneth Glynn
2018 DREAM Scholar

I come from a small-framed, hard-nose, not taking anything from anyone,
sharp-dressing mother, who grew up in Eufaula, Alabama
and migrated to the north during the Great Migration
at the age of nine and landed in Elyria, Ohio.
By seventeen she was pregnant with her first child, a son:
Kenneth L. Glynn. She wanted to give me up for adoption,
but my Grandmother made her keep me, so she had to grow up really quickly.
I didn’t meet my real dad until I was in my thirties
after I had served ten years in the United States Army
as a communication chief and was honorably discharged in 1994.
I come from my mother who raised her oldest kid
to wash clothes, cook dinner and clean the house while she was at work.
I was chiseled a little different than the kids I was around
especially my siblings. I was small-framed, hard-nose, not taking anything
from anyone, sharp-dressing brother.
I come from struggling with my emotions.
I come from barriers that I had to knock down to save my life. I remember how when I attended school for the first time it scared me to find out
how further the other kids were already ahead of me.
I come from Elyria, a small town in Ohio thirty-three miles west of Cleveland, Ohio
once a melting pot full of races who lived and thrived together,
a true reflection of the rainbow that skied over the city.
I come from the south side of Elyria a place
that gave me the essence of the closeness of family
even though there were holes in the fabric of my own family.
I come from street after street of surrounded by friends
whose families became my own
I come from thriving through their love.
I come from the south side of Elyria, where today kids
are being raised by single parents growing up in one of three
metropolitan housing communities with no one to guide them
and break the cycle of poverty.
I come from the kids who have been swept up
in street life and homes that have been abandoned
I come from the once picturesque rainbow that has disappeared from the sky.
I come from the South side of E-town where you dream with your eyes wide open.
I come from the courage to go back to school after losing my job at the steel mill,
twenty years of back breaking work that filled my banking account but emptied my soul.
I come from the mentoring of my professors and the counseling that I received from advisors.
I come from the new passion they gave me to receive my 1st degree within 18 months.
I come from Lorain County Community College where my dreams became a reality.
Where everyone smiles and shares in successes
where people like me rise to the next level
where our dreams become the keys to unlocking our once trapped lives.
Yes! I come from Betty J. Bugg, the South side of E-Town, The United States Army,
And Yes! Lorain County Community College, and a Dream come true!