Bullying Incident Turned Scholarship

Megan Evans, Staff Writer

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During the second week of September, a fourth grade student at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida dressed up for “College Colors” day at his school. The little boy did not own any clothing of his favorite team, so he decided to make his own. He taped a piece of paper where he had written “U of T” for the University of Tennessee under his orange T-shirt. 

During lunch that same day, a couple of girls bullied him for his homemade shirt. He came back to class, put his head down and cried.

One of his teachers, Laura Snyder, turned to Facebook right away. She explained the incident in detail to let her Facebook friends know that one of her students was bullied for his T-shirt and how devastated he was.

“When I told my students about [College Colors Day] a week before, this particular child came up to me and told me that wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he did not have one,” said Snyder. “We discussed that he could wear an orange t-Shirt… he was so excited to show me his shirt.” 

What happened over the next week was monumental for this young student. The Facebook instantly went viral and it eventually reached the University of Tennessee.  The university sent me a box of UT attire and fan accessories but then decided it wasn’t enough.  They made his drawing worthy of an official T-shirt and more than 50,000 orange shirts with the boy’s design were pre-sold by the university’s official store, VolShop.   Tons of fans and students supported the boy by wearing the t-Shirt to games.

The boy’s name was not given due to privacy, but he was also offered a full four year scholarship to the University of Tennessee for the class of 2032 as long as he keeps up his grades.