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School Boy Becomes UT Hero with Homemade Shirt

One student’s victory over bullies.

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A fourth-grade student made headlines after he was teased over a homemade football t-shirt. An elementary school in Florida recently held a “college colors” day where students were asked to dress in support of their favorite college sports teams. The unnamed fourth-grader was excited to support the Tennessee Volunteers football team, which plays for the University of Tennessee, but he didn’t own any official clothes displaying the team’s logo. The student “made” his own shirt by handwriting “UT” on a sheet of paper, and pinning it to an orange t-shirt. The boy wore the shirt until some fellow students made fun of the design during lunch.

A teacher at the school, Laura Snyder, said on Facebook that, “After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying. Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED.”

The tale went viral. The University of Tennessee decided to put the student’s design on a real team shirt. Over 50,000 have ordered the shirt, and the money will be donated to anti-bullying group STOMP Out Bullying. The university also sent the student a package full of UT things, including clothes, shoes, and hats. It also offered the student a scholarship, which means he can attend the college for free.

In Pennsylvania, Winding Creek Elementary School responded to the story by asking students body to wear orange for one day as a message against bullying. School principal Chad Runkle told the pupils to make something different if they didn’t own any orange clothes. “That was my message to the kids,” Runkle said. “You may not have orange at home, and that’s cool because this kid didn’t have what he was supposed to have … the whole idea of not having the thing you’re supposed to have resonates with kids because that happens with our kids all the time.”

Laura Valkovic

Socio-political Correspondent at and Managing Editor of Eclectic in interests and political philosophies, Laura came to journalism after years of working as an educator. Her background as a historian has informed her research and writing styles, as well as her approach to current affairs. Born and raised in Australia, Laura currently resides in Great Britain.

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