High school valedictorian leaves audience in tears with moving speech hours after burying his father

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By Asiya Ali

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A high school valedictorian delivered an emotional graduation speech just hours after burying his father.

Alem Hadzic graduated at the top of his class from Early College High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.

The 18-year-old's father, Miralem Hadzic, tragically died from cancer a couple of days before the ceremony, as reported by Fox 4 News.

Alem touched the hearts of the audience as he addressed them at the podium, revealing: "My father died yesterday, May 15, 2024, and I attended his funeral today right before graduation. That’s why my shoes are muddy, that’s why my arms are shaking because I had to carry him into his grave and bury him."

Watch Alem's speech below:

The graduate's revelation left the entire audience stunned as empathetic gasps and cries filled the room.

"I can’t stand up here and pretend I want to be doing this speech right now," he continued. "But I can’t throw something away he worked so hard for me to achieve."

"That’s why I am going to go to college and I am going to spend every hour of every day working as hard as I can to achieve all my goals. Because that’s what he wanted and I’m going to do it for him," he added.

Credit: GoFundMe

Alem's dad was diagnosed with cancer only five months before the ceremony, and his son only shared the news of his passing to his closest friends.

“Hadzic chose to keep this a secret from his peers, not wanting anyone to treat him differently because of it,” the Carrolton Farmers Branch Independent School District said, according to The New York Post.

Hadzic appeared on FOX 4’s Good Day and said that he changed his speech last minute because his life dramatically changed after his father's death.

“I was scared because I really didn’t know. I went to my dad’s funeral right before,” he told the outlet. “I couldn’t just talk about what I wrote because so much more had happened since then. And so, I got on stage."

"I started reading the script and when I got to the part about my dad, I couldn’t just read off a script anymore. I had to talk about my experience, and I had to talk from the heart," he added.

The valedictorian said that at the end of the ceremony, he was approached by many people - mostly strangers - who expressed their love and support to him for his brave speech.

“I didn’t know any of them but they came up to me. They made me feel better. They wanted to take pictures with me. They told me how strong I was and it made me feel so much better. It made me feel so good on such a dark day. It was really what I needed,” he said.

Alem, who will be attending the University of Texas at Austin, hopes his raw and powerful words were a reminder for everyone to hold their beloved family and friends close.

A GoFundMe page was created for the graduate's family. The money will cover the medical and funeral expenses during this challenging period.

Featured image credit: RichLegg / Getty

High school valedictorian leaves audience in tears with moving speech hours after burying his father

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A high school valedictorian delivered an emotional graduation speech just hours after burying his father.

Alem Hadzic graduated at the top of his class from Early College High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.

The 18-year-old's father, Miralem Hadzic, tragically died from cancer a couple of days before the ceremony, as reported by Fox 4 News.

Alem touched the hearts of the audience as he addressed them at the podium, revealing: "My father died yesterday, May 15, 2024, and I attended his funeral today right before graduation. That’s why my shoes are muddy, that’s why my arms are shaking because I had to carry him into his grave and bury him."

Watch Alem's speech below:

The graduate's revelation left the entire audience stunned as empathetic gasps and cries filled the room.

"I can’t stand up here and pretend I want to be doing this speech right now," he continued. "But I can’t throw something away he worked so hard for me to achieve."

"That’s why I am going to go to college and I am going to spend every hour of every day working as hard as I can to achieve all my goals. Because that’s what he wanted and I’m going to do it for him," he added.

Credit: GoFundMe

Alem's dad was diagnosed with cancer only five months before the ceremony, and his son only shared the news of his passing to his closest friends.

“Hadzic chose to keep this a secret from his peers, not wanting anyone to treat him differently because of it,” the Carrolton Farmers Branch Independent School District said, according to The New York Post.

Hadzic appeared on FOX 4’s Good Day and said that he changed his speech last minute because his life dramatically changed after his father's death.

“I was scared because I really didn’t know. I went to my dad’s funeral right before,” he told the outlet. “I couldn’t just talk about what I wrote because so much more had happened since then. And so, I got on stage."

"I started reading the script and when I got to the part about my dad, I couldn’t just read off a script anymore. I had to talk about my experience, and I had to talk from the heart," he added.

The valedictorian said that at the end of the ceremony, he was approached by many people - mostly strangers - who expressed their love and support to him for his brave speech.

“I didn’t know any of them but they came up to me. They made me feel better. They wanted to take pictures with me. They told me how strong I was and it made me feel so much better. It made me feel so good on such a dark day. It was really what I needed,” he said.

Alem, who will be attending the University of Texas at Austin, hopes his raw and powerful words were a reminder for everyone to hold their beloved family and friends close.

A GoFundMe page was created for the graduate's family. The money will cover the medical and funeral expenses during this challenging period.

Featured image credit: RichLegg / Getty