NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) -- The shirt designed by a Florida 4th grader and fan of the University of Tennessee has raised nearly $1 million in the fight against bullying.
The fundraising effort started after the boy wanted to participate in a "College Day Colors" school spirit event at his school earlier this year but didn't have a UT shirt to wear.
Instead, he made his own logo and pinned it to his shirt, leading to the boy being teased. His story reached school officials and students, even prompting the support of Interim President Randy Boyd. "I was touched to learn of a young Florida school student’s heart for the University of Tennessee, and I LOVED his imagination behind designing his own shirt. So many of us admire his love for UT and it’s awesome to see everyone step up to send him some UT gear!," Boyd stated.
The result was hundreds of fans sending the boy "pride packs" and UT even offering him a full scholarship when he comes of college age in 2028, presuming he meets admission requirements.
UT's VolShop printed shirts depicting the boy's homemade logo with proceeds going to the organization STOMP Out Bullying at his and his parent's request. The result from the 112,715 shirts sold is $952,101 for the organization.
STOMP Out Bullying CEO Ross Ellis stated appreciation for being chosen as the UT partner and the help it will provide. “We have always been an organization dedicated to spreading kindness and preventing bullying and cyber-bullying, and this extremely generous donation helps us to continue to make bullying history," Ellis stated.