A Florida boy who was bullied over his homemade University of Tennessee t-shirt has been offered a four-year scholarship to the school, university officials announced 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," the university announced in a press release. "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 fourth-grade student gained viral fame after he wanted to support his favorite team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers during his elementary school's "College Colors Day." But because he didn't own any actual merchandise from the team, he showed up on the school spirit day with a homemade design of his own. The university decided to make it into official team merchandise after his teacher shared the fourth-grader's story about the boy being bullied over his homemade shirt.
"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," said the boy's teacher, Laura Snyder wrote on Facebook.
After the story went viral, the university reached out to Snyder, wanting to send a care package to the boy filled with swag from the university and said they would be turning the boy's homemade design into official team merchandise.
So far, more than 50,000 shirts featuring the boy's t-shirt design has been pre-sold by the VolShop. All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go directly to an anti-bullying charity, Stomp Out Bullying, the university said.
The boy's tuition will be paid from a separate account, university officials said.
"University officials have spoken several times with the boy’s mother, who has expressed gratitude to the university and said the family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world," the university added.