The boy's original design has become so popular that the demand for the t-shirt crashed the university's website.
An anonymous boy studying in Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida wore an orange t-shirt with a self-made logo and design of the University of Tennessee and was bullied for it by his peers.
However, things took a complete turn after this story became news on social media. The University of Tennessee has turned his design into an official university shirt and they've also affirmed that the demand for the shirt is so high that it crashed the school's website.
ABC reported that it all started when Laura Snyder, the boy's teacher at Altamonte Elementary posted a story about his obsession with Tennessee. “This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one. We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit. He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear”, Snyder said in her post.
So the day finally arrived when the boy did indeed show up to school wearing his orange shirt with his homemade design of the University of Tennesee logo drawn on it. During lunch, however, he was apparently bullied by some girls who mocked him for the sign he had attached to his shirt.
“After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on on [sic] 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,” according to his teacher.
University of Tennessee is turning the elementary school student’s U.T. design into an official shirt. 🤙🏼 pic.twitter.com/11PPUzAdJO— 🕶 (@NYCityVibe) September 7, 2019
To help brighten the boy's mood and day, Synder decided to find out if she could get the University of Tennessee to help make the shirt that she had originally planned to get him and if they could also add a little "extra special" touch to it.
Her search proved really fruitful as this news soon became viral among all the Tennesee Vols fans. The University then contacted Snyder informing her that they wanted to send the boy and the rest of his classmates a care package.
I was touched to learn of a young Florida school student’s heart for the University of Tennessee, and I LOVED his imagination behind designing his own shirt. So many of us admire his love for UT and it’s awesome to see everyone step up to send him some UT gear!#EverywhereUT pic.twitter.com/83YqjzBxag— UT Interim President Randy Boyd (@UT_President) September 5, 2019
“I don’t even know where to begin. I am so incredibly amazed at the outpouring of love and support for my student!! So many people have reached out over the last 24 hours and I have truly lost track,” Snyder said in an updated post.
Because of this, my student will be receiving an awesome care package from the University of Tennessee tomorrow morning! I’m so excited to share this with him (he doesn’t know about any of this yet)!!” When the care package finally came, Snyder said it was a truly unifying experience for her school.
“My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box. He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps [sic] or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people … My student got to pass out UT swag to his classmates. They were ecstatic!! They immediately put on the bracelets and asked if they could fill up the water bottles. Then they went to our class sink and soaked the cooling towels to put around their necks. My students even enjoyed using their new pens to complete their writing quiz,” described Snyder.
But the best part about all this is that the University of Tennessee has decided to take the boy's design and make it one of their official school shirts. The shirt design became so popular that the University of Tennessee’s online store crashed yesterday.
The University declared that a good portion of the profits would be donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit that is dedicated to end bullying of all forms in all places.
This is a great response by Tennessee, but to be clear, the only “bullying” mentioned in the article was two girls teasing him at lunch. This is more about taking advantage of an opportunity to do self promotion in the public eye (but at least UT donated profits to charity).— Widget (@RazorWidget) September 8, 2019
“Thank you Vol Nation! Currently, our website has crashed due to the overwhelming support,” their online store tweeted. “We are working on the problem. Once the server restarts, we anticipate the issue to be resolved. #GoVols #EverywhereUT.” Even Snyder couldn't believe this was happening.
“When I told [my student] that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped,” Snyder said in her latest update. “He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today! Thank you to the UT Nation for that!!”
A Florida boy who was bullied for his homemade T-shirt representing the University of Tennessee Volunteers at his elementary school’s college colors day had his design made official by the university – and the demand crashed the school’s website. https://t.co/BcOzgeDurd— ABC News (@ABC) September 8, 2019