A young boy who was mocked by his classmates for wearing a homemade shirt supporting the University Tennessee football team has been offered a full scholarship at the college.
Earlier in the month, the bullied youngster went viral when the football team – the Vols – created an official shirt with the design the boy had drawn on pen and paper.
The story began when students at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs were told to represent their favourite university by wearing the college’s respective gear or colours.
One young pupil wanted to show his support for the University of Tennessee, but didn’t have any gear. So, he wore an orange t-shirt and pinned a hand-drawn university logo to it.
His teacher, Laura Snyder, said he was ‘so excited’ to show off his design, however the excitement was shortlived after a group of girls made fun of his shirt.
So, Snider took to Facebook to appeal to people’s kindness by asking if any friends had connections who could make a special gift for the child.
Incredibly, the university itself noticed the post, and sent the young fan a massive care package: with jerseys, water bottles, notepads and pens among the gifts.
But it didn’t stop there. Inspired by the student’s ‘volunteer pride’, they created an official t-shirt with the boy’s design – with a portion of the proceeds made from each purchase going to an anti-bullying charity.
Now, the university has put the cherry on top of an already well-iced cake by offering the young boy a full scholarship at the college.
The school announced in a statement:
The University of Tennessee is lighting the way for the young Vol fan who made his own UT T-shirt.
In recognition of the fourth-grader’s Volunteer spirit, the university has extended an offer of honorary admission for him to join the Class of 2032.
In addition, he has been awarded a four-year scholarship covering his tuition and fees beginning fall 2028 should he decide to attend UT and meet admission requirements.
Share in a Florida elementary student's Volunteer pride by wearing his design on your shirt too! Pre-order today for a late September expected delivery. A portion of proceeds from every shirt sold will be donated to @STOMPOutBullyng .https://t.co/NdnTtYREFL pic.twitter.com/OeTZvgC09Y
— VolShop (@UTVolShop) September 6, 2019
The college has since confirmed that 50,000 units of the orange spirit wear have been pre-sold by ythe VolShop, even crashing the website a couple of times.
All of the proceeds made from the t-shirts will go directly to the charity Stomp Out Bullying.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.