He Was Bullied for His Homemade University T-Shirt Design so the School Made it Their Official Logo
A little support can go a long way.
When we believe in each other, the confidence, support, and encouragement transferred is contagious, and can truly change lives.
In the case of one Florida student, the support of a local network of strangers and his school made memories he will never forget.
Laura Snyder, an elementary school teacher at Altamonte Elementary School, oversaw her class “College Colors Day,” one student melted her heart.
Here’s How a School Stood Behind a Bullied Student
Despite being a diehard fan of the University of Tennessee sports teams, the student did not own any official gear and resorted to his creativity to show his support.
The young student — who has remained nameless — instead drew his own rendition of the school’s logo on a piece of paper, and pinned it to an orange T-shirt to resemble the school colors of the Tennessee Vols.
“When the day finally arrived, he was SO EXCITED to show me his shirt,” Snyder revealed on Facebook. “I was impressed that he took it one step further to make his own label.”
Unfortunately, by mid-day, the student was in tears.
Apparently, when the student went to lunch, a group of nearby students mocked his design, deflating the boy’s excitement.
“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,” said Snyder.
Determined to make the situation right, Snyder went on Facebook with the hopes of reaching someone affiliated with the university. Though she originally just planned to get the boy some official merchandise, what happened next took everyone by surprise.
In under a week, the post had gained so much attention, that tens of thousands of people had shared the story, standing up for the student. Tennessee fans from all over the country poured in with comments of support and encouragement, and soon the university even got in touch to send the boy an official package of apparel.
“My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box,” admitted the teacher. “He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people.”
She added that the student was able to give out assorted merchandise to his classmates, including pens, towels, and water bottles.
“While the kids were filling water bottles and waiting to water down their towels, it made this teacher so proud to see the kids congratulating my student. High fives, hugs, pats on the back could be seen from the kids. This experience is uniting my class even more than I could have imagined, and it was truly amazing to witness!!”
The gift clearly extended beyond the student in question, and showed all the classmates the power of creativity, self-belief, and support. Even though some other students had the power to deflate the boy’s confidence when they made fun of his design, others had the overwhelmingly opposite effect by standing up for him.
However, the story does not end there.
Once the University of Tennessee got wind of the story, they decided to turn the boy’s design into an official, licensed piece of merchandise available for purchase.
“Share in a Florida elementary student’s Volunteer pride by wearing his design on your shirt too!,” the university’s official campus store said on Twitter.
According to the university, a portion of the proceeds from every shirt sold will go to an anti-bullying foundation.
“When I told him that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped,” said Snyder. “He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today!”
The shirt got so much support, that the official store website even crashed under all the traffic!
Snyder also shared a note from the boy’s mother, who wrote, “I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son and for being a VFL. 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.”
Standing up for others in moments of vulnerability can be life-changing, and inject others with confidence that lasts.
It is important to always stand up for others when we can, even if it won’t result in a sold-out t-shirt design.
Who knows, maybe the child even has a future in graphic design thanks to the support of those around him.
When we nurture others in moments of vulnerability, we never know where it may take them.