After a fourth grade Florida boy went viral for being bullied at school for his homemade Tennessee T-shirt, the university offered him a scholarship to become a future Volunteer.
"In recognition of the fourth-grader's Volunteer spirit, the university has extended an offer of honorary admission for him to join the Class of 2032," the university said in a statement on Thursday. "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 boy's story spread nationally after his teacher, Laura Snyder, posted on Facebook on September 4 that he wanted to wear a Tennessee shirt to school for "College Colors Day" but didn't have one. They decided he could wear an orange T-shirt, and he took it one step further by attaching a hand-drawn "U.T." sign to the front of it. While he was excited to show off his design, Snyder said he returned from lunch in tears after a group of girls made fun of his shirt.
Tennessee saw the viral post and responded by sending a box filled with Vols goodies to the student and his classmates at school. The university also turned the boy's handmade sign into an actual T-shirt design which will be sold by the VolShop. It said over 50,000 shirts have been pre-sold and will be shipped out later this month. All proceeds from the shirt sales will go to the charity Stomp Out Bullying.
"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," Tennessee said.