In a state the place the Gators, Noles and Canes vie for faculty soccer supremacy, an elementary college pupil in Florida lately confirmed as much as class in a selfmade T-shirt design bearing his allegiances to the University of Tennessee — and he was teased as a result of of it.
Now, the boy’s hand-drawn U.T. design might be worn by fellow Volunteer followers clad in orange.
When the college realized of the bullying episode, which was shared by the boy’s instructor, Laura Snyder, in a viral Facebook publish, it started providing replicas of the T-shirt for sale at U.T.’s on-line campus retailer. “Now you can share in this student’s Volunteer pride by wearing his design on your shirt too,” the retailer web site stated.
Proceeds from the shirt’s sale will probably be donated to the nationwide group Stomp Out Bullying, in response to the college, whose on-line campus retailer acquired a lot visitors after selling the shirt, it stated, that the web site crashed.
A college spokeswoman stated Monday that greater than 16,000 shirts had been pre-ordered.
Ms. Snyder is a fourth-grade instructor at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Fla., an Orlando suburb.
In her Facebook publish on Wednesday, Ms. Snyder stated her college students had participated in a school colours day at the college per week earlier. The boy, whom she didn’t identify, didn’t have a Tennessee shirt, so she informed him he might make his personal.
“So when the day finally arrived, he was SO EXCITED to show me his shirt,” Ms. Snyder wrote. “I was impressed that he took it one step further to make his own label.”
“After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying,” she continued. “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.”
Ms. Snyder stated she deliberate to get the pupil a U.T. shirt, and requested if anybody had a connection to the college.
“I wanted to make it a little extra special for him,” she stated.
U. T., a conventional Southeastern Conference rival of the University of Florida Gators, noticed Ms. Snyder’s publish and despatched the boy a care bundle of free swag to symbolize the Volunteers. On Friday, the college introduced it will be utilizing the boy’s design on a brand new shirt.
That night time, Ms. Snyder shared a letter from the boy’s mother, who said her son had “wanted nothing more” than to wear a U.T. shirt to school, but finding one in Florida on short notice wasn’t easy.
The boy’s mother, whom Ms. Snyder also did not name, thanked the University of Tennessee and its fans, who go by the creed Vol For Life, or V.F.L.
“I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son and for being a V.F.L.,” the boy’s mother wrote. “Every comment, item sent, and action taken on behalf of my son will never be forgotten and hopefully will serve as inspiration for him throughout his life.”
Ms. Snyder’s widely shared social media post caught the attention of Randy Boyd, U.T.’s interim president.
“I was touched to learn of a young Florida school student’s heart for the University of Tennessee, and I LOVED his imagination designing his own shirt,” Mr. Boyd said on Twitter.
Even though she is a fan of the Florida State Seminoles, Ms. Snyder said in the post that she had initially planned to simply get the boy a U.T. shirt after the episode.
“I know kids can be cruel,” she wrote, adding, “I am aware that it’s not the fanciest sign, BUT this kid used the resources he had available to him to participate in a spirit day (one that I celebrated all week: Go Noles)!”