Lifestyle & Human Interest

University Offers Scholarship to Young Boy Bullied for Homemade Shirt Design


After a Florida fourth-grader was bullied for wearing a homemade University of Tennessee shirt, the school and a handful of alumni went out of their way to make sure he was celebrated.

Not only did a group of faculty from several different departments band together to send him a massive box of bright, orange, Tennessee gear, but a generous alumnus also ensured that the package was shipped overnight.

The school’s official gear shop even created a new shirt featuring the young boy’s hand-drawn design — the proceeds from which will be sent to Stomp Out Bullying, a nonprofit committed to reduce and prevent bullying across the country.

After the announcement of the new shirt, people from all over — despite their college football loyalties — wanted to show their support for the message that shirt represented.

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In a statement published on Sept. 12, the school announced that over 50,000 shirts were pre-ordered.

Support for the young boy continued to grow, which eventually led to his design to be painted on The Rock located on the University of Tennessee’s campus.

The fourth-grader’s “Volunteer Spirit” inspired the university to extend a special offer to him: an honorary admission to join the Class of 2032 as well as a four-year scholarship.

“The University of Tennessee is lighting the way for the young Vol fan who made his own UT T-shirt,” the statement said.

As long as the young boy wants to go to the University of Tennessee and meets the admission requirements, both his tuition and fees will be covered.

The school clarified that his scholarship will be covered by the school separately and that all of the proceeds for the shirt are still going to Stomp Out Bullying.

“University officials have spoken several times with the boy’s mother,” the statement continued, “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 CEO of Stomp Out Bullying, Ross Ellis, said she’s “thrilled” for the young boy.

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“This little boy is getting his justice, and I’m so thrilled for him,” she told ABC News.

“You just can’t pick on a kid and think this is OK. For him to get his justice, is just like winning a peace prize, because no one is going to bully him anymore.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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