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Speech by high school valedictorian hours after his dad's funeral leaves people in tears

The eighteen-year-old gave his graduation speech after attending the funeral of his beloved father.

Speech by high school valedictorian hours after his dad's funeral leaves people in tears
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Carrollton City Limits and Surrounding Cities

Some children deeply understand the sacrifices their parents have made for them, and they strive to make them proud, no matter the circumstances. Alem Hadzic is one of these children. Just hours after his father's funeral, the 18-year-old valedictorian ensured he attended his high school graduation to deliver a heartfelt speech, as reported by PEOPLE. Hadzic's father was diagnosed with cancer during Alem's senior year and passed away the day before his graduation.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mikhail Nilov
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mikhail Nilov

The high school graduate's speech was shared on Facebook by Carrollton City Limits and Surrounding Cities, a page dedicated to stories from North Texas communities. He began by revealing that his father had cancer but kept it mostly private to avoid being treated differently. “My father died yesterday, May 15, 2024, and I attended his funeral today, right before graduation," Hadzic said, his voice trembling. “That’s why my shoes are muddy and my arms are shaking—I had to carry him to his grave and bury him.” The audience was stunned to learn that his father had died on graduation day.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gul Isik
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gul Isik

He continued, "I can’t stand up here and pretend I want to be doing this speech right now but I can’t throw something away that he worked so hard for me to achieve." Because of this, Hadzic wants to go to college and spend every hour working hard to "achieve all of my goals because that's what he wanted." "I'm going to do it for him," the boy said in honor of his dad. He then asked the students to look at their loved ones and say the same thing. Concluding his speech, Hadzic added, "So do it for them just as I do it for my dad." The audience gave him a standing ovation after his speech. 

The 18-year-old said that though he had a written speech, he chose to follow his heart while talking about his father. “I started reading the script and when I got to the part about my dad, I couldn’t just read off a script anymore,” he said. “I had to talk about my experience, and I had to talk from the heart," Hadzic shared. One of his favorite memories with his dad is growing up watching the Mavericks, and he was able to do that a few weeks before he passed away. “He couldn’t see the screen, and he asked me to tell him what was going on,” Hadzic narrated. “So I stayed there with him, and I did just that," according to TODAY.

The high school graduate's video has garnered many views, and he has received numerous emails from people across the country. “It’s so comforting. Strangers are sharing their experiences with me so that I don’t feel so alone,” he said. “I’m responding to every single person.” Attending the graduation ceremony right after his father's funeral couldn't have been easy, but Hadzic's determination to honor his father’s memory shows his deep love and commitment.


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