Kenny started out as a timid boy who was fearful of even touching a Pokémon. During a school field trip, Kenny and his classmates were searching for a Poliwag that had run off. After Max found Poliwag under a bench, Tommy accused him of ruining the class trip and Anita stood up for Kenny.
Later, Kenny was watching a lecture from Professor Oak via videochat when Ash and his friends walked in during class. As Max was introduced to Anita, he learned that Kenny's parents as well as her own forced their children to attend the Pokémon Trainer's School at Rustboro City. After Brock's Lotad had trouble following his command to use Water Gun in front of Roxanne's students, Ash tried to help Kenny overcome his fear of touching Pokémon by having him pet Pikachu. However Tommy deliberately stepped on Poliwag's tail, causing it to fire off a Water Gun, though Max leaped to Kenny's safety.
Outside, Kenny watched the battle between Max and Tommy. When Team Rocket arrived with the stolen Pokémon from the school, Kenny proved to be the hero in the situation. He urged Max to use an actual attack, instead of relying on defensive moves constantly like he did during his match. Kenny also coordinated Anita and Tommy's contributions to taking down Team Rocket. After Team Rocket was defeated, Kenny petted Magby and Poliwag, showing that he had finally overcome his fear of touching Pokémon. At this, Tommy finally came to respect Kenny and they both became friends.
Prior to the episode, Kenny was given the responsibility of taking care of a Poliwag during the school field trip. Due to his fear of touching Pokémon, Poliwag ran off and was later found by Max.