A speech that no one will forget: A student from Texas suffers a tragic loss and speaks to his classmates as valedictorian that same day.

Alem Hadzic, a graduate of a Texas high school, gave an emotional speech to his classmates after his father’s death, the New York Post reports. The 18-year-old came straight from the funeral when he gave the speech as valedictorian of Early College High School.

Alem only revealed to a few of his closest friends the death of his father, Miralem Hadzic, who had suffered from cancer just five months before the celebration. According to the Carrolton Farmers Branch School District, Hadzic did not want anyone to treat him special because of this tragic event.

Hadzic, who will study chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, decided to give the valedictorian speech anyway because his father motivated him to do well in school.

Hadzic said: “I can’t stand here and act as if I want to give this speech now. But I can’t throw away something he worked so hard for me to achieve. I do it for him.”

Hadzic was surprised at how many people started crying when they heard about his story. After the ceremony, many people came up to him and made him feel better. Hadzic said: “It made me feel so much better on such a terrible day.”

Hadzic didn’t want to talk about his father’s death until the end. But when he stood on stage, he couldn’t help it. He said: “When I read out what I had been thinking and got to the part about my father, I couldn’t just read on. I had to tell what happened.”

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