Bullying is nothing new, but did you know that 160,000 kids skip school each year to avoid being bullied by other students? According to a survey by Youth Truth Student, verbal abuse, physical abuse, social harassment and cyberbullying are the 4 most common types of bullying.
One child in Florida knows this all too well.
It was early in September 2019 when Altamonte Elementary School hosted their “College Colors Day.” All of the students were encouraged to dress in support of their favorite college, and one boy in particular wanted to wear the orange and white colors of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Despite being such a big fan, he didn’t own any Vols gear that he could wear to school. So he used his imagination and creative skills to make a UT T-shirt of his own. He already had an orange shirt on hand, so all that was missing was a logo. After taking pen to paper, he pinned an original design on the front and couldn’t wait to show it off to his teacher, Ms. Snyder.
He wore it proudly on his way to school and walked right up to his teacher when he arrived so she could see it. Ms. Snyder said she was very pleased with his creative ingenuity, and she was happy to see him so excited wearing the Volunteer State colors.
But by the time lunch came around, he wasn’t so pleased with his efforts anymore.
A few students who sat at a table opposite him poked fun at his T-shirt. His teacher, also upset by the bullying, said she planned to purchase an official Vols shirt for him in the hopes of raising his spirits. She had no idea just how well her plan would work.
Reaching out to friends on social media, her post went viral enough to attract the attention of UT administrators, who answered the call to arms in true Vol fashion. The school put together a care package for their newly discovered young fan.
Then, they took it a step further by using his design to make an official Vols logo that is now being sold in their store. The demand was so high for the shirts with his design that the school’s online store crashed from the number of orders. Not only that, a portion of the proceeds from every shirt will go towards @STOMPOutBullying on Twitter, an organization dedicated to ending bullying.
The child’s mom was truly touched, and the student’s confidence has since soared. His mom hopes it will serve as encouragement and inspiration to him for the rest of his life. And to help him find that inspiration, UT offered the young boy a scholarship that will be waiting whenever he is ready to wear his new gear at Neyland Stadium as a full-fledged Vols!