University of Tennessee offers scholarship to boy bullied for homemade T-shirt
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A young boy who went viral for his homemade University of Tennessee T-shirt has been offered a four-year scholarship to the school.
"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," the university announced Thursday. "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 university also said that officials have spoken with the boy’s mother several times and that she "has expressed gratitude to the university and said the family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world."
The unnamed Altamonte Springs, Florida, boy was bullied at lunch for wearing a homemade "U.T." shirt during college colors week. His teacher, Laura Snyder, shared his story on Facebook and word quickly got to the university.
The boy's story went viral and the university by turning the boy's shirt into an official piece of school merchandise. The university credited its alumni, fans, and "honorary Volunteers" who stepped up in response to the young boy's story.
"More than 50,000 shirts featuring the boy’s design have been pre-sold by the VolShop," the school said. "All proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go directly to the charity Stomp Out Bullying. The university will cover the cost of the scholarship separately. Orders will begin shipping later this month."
University of Tennessee chancellor, Donde Plowman, tweeted the news when the official campus store sold out of more than 16,000 T-shirts.
Demand for the inspiring hand-drawn shirt was so high that the school's website even crashed.