A creative little University of Tennessee fan will one day get to attend the school of his dreams after officials offered him a scholarship to thank him for his hand-drawn T-shirt design.
The unnamed fourth-grader from Altamonte Springs, Fla., went viral last week after he was bullied at school for wearing a homemade “U.T.” T-shirt. The boy had drawn the school’s letters onto a piece of paper, then pinned it to his shirt.
The DIY design captured hearts on the internet after his teacher, Laura Snyder, posted it to Facebook. Kids at school bullied the boy because he wore the hand-drawn shirt for “college colours day” at school.
The University of Tennessee saw the post and embraced the design. They made a real T-shirt out of the hand-drawn lettering last week, and the orange shirts have been selling like crazy. The school has sold 16,000 shirts at its campus store, and another 50,000 have been pre-sold.
The school’s online store crashed last week with requests for the shirt.
UPDATE: We're still working on our server issues, but hope to be back up soon. While other shops are trying to sell this shirt, please know we're the source that has an agreement w/the family, where all proceeds go to @STOMPOutBullyng #GoVols #EverywhereUT pic.twitter.com/BbUEAH5Syx
— VolShop (@UTVolShop) September 8, 2019
The university announced it will give the boy a scholarship in a press release on Thursday.
“In recognition of the fourth-grader’s Volunteer spirit, the university has extended an offer of admission for him to join the Class of 2032,” it said in a statement. “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.”
The school says it has been in touch with the boy’s mother several times, and that she is very thankful for all the positive responses to her son’s artwork.
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All proceeds from the shirt sales are going to STOMP Out Bullying, an anti-bullying charity.
“This little boy is getting justice, and I’m so thrilled for him,” the group’s CEO, Ross Ellis, told ABC 7. “You can’t just pick on a kid and think this is OK.”
He added: “No one is going to bully him anymore.”