Boy bullied for his homemade UT shirt is offered scholarship to the school

After the story went viral, Vols Nation rallied around the boy. Now, University of Tennessee has offered him a four-year scholarship.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

Perhaps he'll be a design major? The Florida boy who went viral for his DIY University of Tennessee T-shirt has been offered admission and a four-year ride to the university.

The scholarship would cover the young man's tuition and fees beginning fall 2028, a spokesperson for the school told TODAY Parents on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Laura Snyder, a teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida, wrote about a fourth grader who crafted his own UT shirt on College Colors Day.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

“He was SO EXCITED,” Snyder shared on Facebook.

The boy had approached Snyder and explained that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but didn't own one.

Snyder suggested the student wear an orange top that he already owned. He liked that idea and took it a step further, by crafting his own paper UT Vols label.

The fourth grader pinned the DIY label to his top.Laura Snyder/Facebook

Sadly, a group of bullies tried to crush his spirit.

“He came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying,” Snyder revealed. “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.”

Laura Snyder/Facebook

But the story has a happy ending. Snyder’s post went viral and the boy was inundated with support from Vol Nation. He also received enough loot from the University of Tennessee to open his own campus gift shop.

“I’m not even sure I can put into words his reaction. It was so heartwarming. My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box,” Snyder shared on Facebook. “He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people.”

It gets even better. The university announced Friday that they would be printing the hand-drawn image onto official T-shirts and donating all of the proceeds to STOMP Out Bullying. A spokesperson for the school told TODAY Parents that 50,000 shirts have already been ordered.

In an open letter, the boy's mom praised Snyder and Vol Nation for "seeing in my son what we see in him every day."