This article appeared in the September 10, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A good reason to wear orange

Courtesy of VolShop
A Florida elementary school student’s design is being used on a T-shirt sold by VolShop, the official campus store for The University of Tennessee. Proceeds will go to STOMP Out Bullying.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

Our five handpicked stories in today’s edition cover shrinking support for Joe Biden in New Hampshire, breaking governing taboos in Israel, a new symbol of hope in Afghanistan, and myth busting in Uganda and New England.

But first, teachers rock!

Last week, fourth grade teacher Laura Snyder found one of her boys in tears. At lunch, some girls scoffed at his homemade University of Tennessee T-shirt. 

She could have just told him it would be OK. Bullies happen. But not Ms. Snyder. She was going to buy him a real Tennessee Volunteers T-shirt and posted his story on Facebook. Within days, a box full of orange T-shirts, hats, and other U.T. swag arrived at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida. All courtesy of U.T. That fourth grader went from zero to class hero.

Then, the university took it to the next level. The boy’s hand-drawn design was made into a new official U.T. shirt. A portion of the earnings will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a nonprofit. The flood of online orders crashed the university’s site Friday. 

Ms. Snyder wrote on Facebook that the new U.T. shirt design put “a big smile on his face, [he] walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today!

Skeptics might say it’s just a tribe (the Vols) protectively embracing their youngest member. Maybe. I’ve never been a Vols fan. But I would buy that shirt because it’s a statement about character. It says derision or hate doesn’t get the last word – especially when exposed. 

Bless you, Ms. Snyder, for caring enough to go the extra mile.

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This article appeared in the September 10, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/10 edition