University Of Tennessee Turns Bullied Fourth-Grader’s Design Into Official Merch
By Mikelle Leow, 09 Sep 2019
Image via UT VolShop
The University of Tennessee has stood up for a bullied elementary school student in an inspiring way by turning his homemade college tee into an official design.
On College Colors Day, kids at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida were invited to dress in the palettes of their desired colleges or universities. One of the fourth-graders there is a fan of UT but didn’t have an official t-shirt, so he improvised and attached a drawing to an orange t-shirt.
The boy was “so excited” to show off his work to his teacher Laura Snyder, according to her Facebook post. However, he later returned in tears as “some girls at the lunch table next to his” laughed at his DIY t-shirt.
“He was devastated,” Snyder added. “I know kids can be cruel, I am aware that it’s not the fanciest sign, but this kid used the resources he had available to him to participate in a spirit day.” Meanwhile, the bullies did not even participate in the program.
Snyder wondered if she could cheer up the student, and asked if anybody had connections to UT so she could “make it a little extra special for him.”
Readers of the post were thoroughly moved, and thanks to the power of social media, it made its way to UT itself. The university announced on Thursday that its store was sending a “Volunteer Proud Pack” to Snyder’s class.
Several campus departments donated items for the student, teacher, and entire class. pic.twitter.com/M4u3d6Eeo0— VolShop (@UTVolShop) September 5, 2019
Inside were notes from the school’s officials, jerseys, hats, a specially-signed football by head coach Jeremy Pruitt, water bottles, and official stationery.
Additionally, the university confirmed that it was turning the boy’s sketch into an official t-shirt design that could be purchased from its store.
A portion of the proceeds made from the tee would also be donated to an anti-bullying foundation, UT said.
The homemade design turned out to be so popular, the store’s servers crashed from the demand.
Snyder reflected that she was “so amazed, humbled and a little overwhelmed” at the attention. “Thank you all so much for your kind words of support and encouragement for my student,” she concluded.
9/6/19 - UT really outdid themselves🧡!! I was so excited to surprise my student today!! I’m not even sure I can put...Posted by Laura Snyder on Wednesday, September 4, 2019
[via BuzzFeed News, images via various sources]
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