Continuing on our anti-bullying theme from last month, we are awarding a teacher (for the second month in a row!) with our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award.
October’s trophy winner is Florida elementary school teacher Laura Snyder. She is the recipient of the No Bullying in My Classroom Award. Engraved on her personalized trophy: T is for T-Shirt (and Tenderhearted Teacher!)
The story begins with Snyder announcing to her class an upcoming “College Colors Day”. Where students can wear gear from their favorite college — or show their support by sporting their favorite college’s team colors.
A boy in Snyder’s class got all excited and told Snyder he really, REALLY wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but didn’t have one. Snyder told him he could wear orange to show his UT pride, and the boy loved that idea. He loved it so much, in fact, that he told Snyder every day leading up to College Colors Day that he was going to wear an orange shirt to cheer on UT!
Then when College Colors Day finally arrived, the boy showed up to school wearing an orange shirt and a UT logo he had drawn himself, on a piece of paper affixed to his shirt. He was so excited about it and so proud to show Snyder. But when he came back to class after lunch, he was in tears.
Some girls had made fun of his homemade UT sign on his orange shirt, completely deflating all his joy and pride.
Snyder decided she wanted to buy the boy a UT shirt to make him feel better, and took to Facebook to post about the bullying event, asking if anyone had any contacts at the University of Tennessee who could perhaps “make it a little extra special for him.”
Her post ended up going viral, and kindness would soon override the cruelty of bullying.
Orange You Glad You Chose Kindness?
The University of Tennessee sent Snyder’s student a giant care package overflowing with UT swag.
Snyder describes the event beautifully:
“I’m not even sure I can put into words his reaction. It was so heartwarming. My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box. He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps or tears.”
But Snyder had an even bigger surprise for her student: The University of Tennessee had decided to turn the boy’s hand-drawn UT design into an actual T-shirt, with a portion of sales going to an anti-bullying foundation.
Snyder says: “When I told him that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped. He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew”.
Team Trophy Central would like to thank Snyder for teaching her students that acts of kindness have the power to make magic happen.
Acts of kindness like hers can have such a ripple effect, proven by all the heartfelt comments written to her student on Facebook (and Snyder says she will be reading a couple kind comments to her students every day: “By the looks of it, he will have enough to hear every day for the rest of this school year.”)
What an important lesson she taught her students: Bullying will absolutely not be tolerated. And that something a couple mean girls make fun of can actually be a brilliant creation that inspires thousands.
Show Us Your Sue!
For those of you who don’t know, our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign — in which we send out monthly trophies to those making the world a better place with their acts of kindness — was originally inspired by the quirky, perpetually optimistic Sue Heck character on the sitcom The Middle.
Sue Heck was the girl who tried out for everything but never got chosen (except for her beloved “no cuts cross country team” that accepted everyone). But no matter how many times she got rejected, she kept trying out, kept auditioning.
Team Trophy Central admired her passion and persistence, as well as her determination to make things happen for herself. When she was rejected as a cheerleader, she started her own team called the Wrestlerettes. She cheered her heart out for her high school wrestling team, along with a handful of other beautiful misfits, and the joy she exuded while doing so was beyond heartwarming and smile-inducing.
Sue Heck inspired all her peers with her optimism and can-do attitude. No matter how many times she fell, she got right back up. She dusted herself off and scattered metaphorical glitter in the air — which most definitely reached her naysayers.
And Sue Heck inspired us as a mascot for our Random Acts of Trophy-ness initiative. Sue Heck isn’t the type of person to typically win a trophy, but she is SO trophy-worthy in our eyes because she makes the world a better place by being herself.
We want to send out trophies to the Sue Hecks of the world, the Laura Snyders of the world. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and “Show Us Your Sue”!
To nominate the next Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner, please leave a comment below about why your pick deserves a trophy You can also tag us on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. Don’t forget to tell us why your nominee is trophy-worthy! What are they doing to make the world a kinder, gentler place? We can’t wait to reward acts of kindness with a shiny, personalized trophy!