Ever since Jenny Dinelli was a young girl, she has been a star athlete and loved to play sports. Unfortunately, all of this could have changed for her in middle school. During a basketball game, Jenny hit her head on the court and experienced a brain hemorrhage. She was flown by helicopter to Loyola Medical Center in Chicago.
She woke up after being in a coma for five days. Her recovery included learning new study habits to overcome short term memory difficulties. Though the injury was serious, Jenny didn’t stay out of sports. After high school, she decided to attend KCC and play softball.
“My favorite KCC memories stem from playing softball for Coach Dennis Clark," she said. Clark and Dinelli are shown in the photo to the left. "In the 2002 national tournament, we upset the No. 1 team in the nation, Phoenix College, in a game that lasted until midnight. Even though we ran out of steam the next day, we still earned a third place finish. In addition, we finished third in the nation in 2001.”
Beyond being a wonderful athlete, Jenny also was a gifted student who was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college. Jenny was the first of her family to graduate from college, and she took full advantage of the opportunity. At KCC, she was:
- Lion’s Club Scholar/Athlete of the Year
- Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Member
- Phi Theta Kappa All-Illinois Academic Team Member
- Nominated for Phi Theta Kappa All-USA Academic Team
- Parent Teacher Association College Scholar
- NJCAA Distinguished Softball Academic All-American
- National Fastpitch Coaches Association Softball All-American Second Team Member
- NJCAA Div. II National Softball All-Tournament Team Member
- NJCAA Div. II Softball All-Region IV Team Member
After completing an Associate in Arts transfer degree at KCC in 2002, Jenny transferred to Marian University in Indianapolis and completed a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education. Jenny then attended Illinois State University and earned a master's degree in communication and science disorders.
Currently, Jenny is a speech language pathologist at Reed-Custer grade school. Originally from South Wilmington, she now lives in Braidwood. Jenny has devoted her life to helping others through her profession, and as a volunteer teacher for Habitat for Humanity in Haiti. Each year, she leads workshops to help train more than 500 Haitian teachers. She also has volunteered in an orphanage in the mountainside village of Sucre, Bolivia.
Jenny is truly an inspiration to us all and we are proud to have her in the Cavalier family.