A young Tennessee Volunteers (Vol) fan who was bullied for his homemade Vol T-shirt is inspiring Pennsylvania elementary students to stand with him against bullying by wearing orange.
Last week, Laura Snyder, a teacher at Winding Creek Elementary School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, posted on Facebook that some students were bullying her fourth-grade students for his homemade Tennessee Volunteers shirt during his school’s College Colors Day.
Because the boy didn’t have a UT shirt, he got creative and made his own “U of T” logo on a white piece of paper and pinned it to an orange T-shirt.
The fourth-grader made national news and it resulted in the University of Tennessee using his design on an official shirt and donating the proceeds to STOMP Out Bullying. Moreover, he will be awarded a four-year scholarship covering tuition and fees beginning in 2028 should he decide to attend UT and meet admission requirements.
The university’s response is what touched Principal Chad Runkle and Assistant Principal Mike Azzalina of Winding Creek Elementary School, according to Knoxville News.
“What a gracious, awesome stance,” Runkle said. “A big, giant university that didn’t have to do anything about it other than maybe they could have sent him a T-shirt or something—they went above and beyond.”
After Runkle shared the young boy’s story with the school, Azzalina suggested an “Orange Out” on Thursday, Sept. 12,—asked the entire student body to stand up against bullying by wearing something orange of their own—even if that meant a homemade shirt.
A “sea of orange” as nearly 900 students exited the school buses that morning, according to Runkle.
“I have never seen a spirit day (like this),” he said. “This really resonated with our kids.”
Winding Creek stands with The University of Tennessee @UTKnoxville today as we proudly wore orange in support of the anti-bullying story they championed. Hundreds of our kids came in a wave of orange as we spread the hope for school environments built on kindness. @CVSDnews pic.twitter.com/pXTkjL0k8x
— Winding Creek Elementary School (@WC_WolfPack) September 12, 2019