Student Bullied for Handmade University of Tennessee Shirt Gets Full Scholarship
Remember that creative kid in Florida who got the attention of the University of Tennessee with his homemade T-shirt? It was the T-shirt that the school made an official design, which promptly crashed its online store's website due to demand. The school's band even wore it this weekend during a football game.
Since the school benefited so much from the kid's fandom and subsequent artwork, the least it could do was give him a little something for his trouble, right? It turns out that "little something" is a full ride.
That's right: The University of Tennessee is giving that young graphic designer a full scholarship when he graduates high school.
...and a shout out to @UTVolShop for the quick turnaround!
— UT Bands (@potsband) September 14, 2019
"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 an online statement. "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."
That last part is the key here: Designing a T-shirt and showing school pride can get you national recognition and even a full ride to a major educational institution, but you still have to study hard to get there. (This isn't Yale or USC we're talking about.)
The school also reported that it's pre-sold more than 50,000 of the shirts through its online store, with proceeds going to the Stomp Out Bullying charity. The university also said any scholarship money the fourth-grader receives will be separate from the T-shirt sales.
"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," the statement said.
No matter where your college sports allegiances lie, you can't deny that this is a happy ending. The University gets a special T-shirt design that people can feel good buying and wearing, and one very lucky, artistically-inclined student can go through the rest of his grade school journey knowing that, as long as he stays on track, there's a spot in Knoxville just for him.