Bullied Student’s T-Shirt Design Made into Official University Merchandise

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. renowned / rɪˈnaʊnd / (adj) – known by many people

    He is a renowned physicist. His studies are read internationally.

  2. turn (someone/something) into (someone/something) / tɜrn ˈɪn tʊ / (phrasal) – to transform or change someone or something

    They turned my old house into a modern, stylish one.

  3. make fun of (someone/something) / meɪk fʌn əv / (idiom) – to tease someone or insult something

    His classmates laughed and made fun of his unique hairstyle.

  4. reach out / ritʃ aʊt / (phrasal) – to attempt to communicate with someone

    I tried to reach out to her, but she was not responding to my calls.

  5. astonished / əˈstɒn ɪʃt / (adj) – feeling surprised or amazed

    She was astonished when she saw her favorite band live for the first time.


Read the text below.

A renowned university in the United States turned a student’s homemade T-shirt design into its official merchandise after learning that the student was bullied for it.

On College Colors Day, a day to celebrate team spirit, an elementary school boy volunteered to represent his favorite university, the University of Tennessee (UT). Since the boy did not own an official UT shirt, his teacher, Laura Snyder, advised him to wear any orange shirt. Instead of wearing a plain orange T-shirt, the student designed his own by attaching the university’s logo that he drew on a piece of paper.

On the event day, the student excitedly showed his T-shirt to Snyder, who was impressed. However, later that day, the boy went back to the classroom crying because his schoolmates made fun of his creation.

To comfort her student, Snyder thought of surprising the boy with an official UT shirt. She even posted on Facebook and asked her friends if they knew anyone from the university to make her surprise extra special for the boy.

Snyder’s post went viral, and the university noticed it. The UT sent a package full of official merchandise to the student and even decided to make his design an official university shirt.

Snyder thanked the people who helped her reach out to the university. According to her, the boy was really astonished when he opened the package from the university. He felt so proud of himself when he learned that his T-shirt design became official university merchandise that people actually want to wear.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were the teacher, how would you have cheered up the boy? Discuss.
• How do you think this story will impact other children who are being bullied? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, who should teach children to be kind and compassionate to others? Explain.
• What should be done to prevent children from behaving negatively? Discuss.