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“I came to TCC because of the motto that said I could ‘go anywhere’ from here. And I think it’s true.” – Tim Slootmaker

Timothy Slootmaker has a motto for life, “I’ve got this!”

And after seven years, Tim’s determination and can-do attitude are paying off as he earns an Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technolgy from Tidewater Community College.

Tim will cross the stage at TCC’s 73rd Commencement Exercises on Dec. 20 with his mom, Lenore, at his side just as she’s been for every class.

Tim with his mom Lenore Slootmaker.

“Mom has been with me every step, so it makes sense to have her at graduation,” Tim said.

Tim, 25, was born with cerebral palsy with epilepsy. And even though he has endured ailments and setbacks, he has persevered in school, graduating with honors from Western Branch high school and now with a 3.9 GPA from TCC.

“I came to TCC because of the motto that said I could ‘go anywhere’ from here. And I think it’s true,” Tim said. “Whatever I needed, the staff was there and always encouraging me.”

Tim started at TCC in 2014 and took most of his classes in-person before the pandemic. He successfully transitioned to remote learning with the support of faculty and staff, not missing a single assignment during the pandemic.

Tim in his favorite spot on campus with staffer Chuck Thomas.

Tim is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools. He is also active in Breakaway Bible study on Chesapeake Campus. His favorite spot on Portsmouth Campus is the Student Center where he connects with staffers including Chuck Thomas and Dean Jenefer Snyder who are his personal cheerleaders.

Tim received accommodations from Disability Services that aided his success including more time for writing and testing. Lenore credits the testing center with helping Tim overcome any barrier and sends a special shout out to the staff for their part in Tim’s success.

“It will be a sweet moment walking the stage at graduation, and I’m extremely proud,” Lenore said. “I guided Tim along the way, but this success is all his. Without his determination, we would not be here now.”

Tim will return to TCC in the spring to start another degree. This one in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design. His goal is to become a CAD professional for a government agency or a local shipyard.