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Teen Bravely Delivers Tear-Jerking Valedictorian Speech Hours After Dad’s Funeral

Alem Hadzic stands at a podium giving his valedictorian speech

Miralem Hadzic was an immigrant from Bosnia, determined to build a better life for his family. Taking a look at what all his son, Alem, has already accomplished at 18 years old, it’s clear he succeeded. Alem recently graduated from Early College High School with a 4.0 GPA. Not only did he become valedictorian, but he also earned an associate of science degree. This will make his journey to earning a degree in chemical engineering much smoother.

Amidst so many exciting moments, however, Alem experienced a heavy loss. Miralem, who had pancreatic cancer, passed away just the day before graduation. Then, his funeral took place just hours before the graduation ceremony. As valedictorian, Alem was scheduled to give a speech. Needless to say, he struggled to imagine how he’d be able to still do it.

A young Alem smiles as he poses with his mom, dad, and sister. He has an arm around dad, Miralem Hadzic

“People were coming over to wish me luck and I was kind of blowing them off,” Alem recalls. “In my head, I was thinking, ‘Can I do this?'”

Although Alem had a whole speech planned, he forwent it in order to talk about his dad. Not only did this help the grieving teen, but it also touched every single person in the audience. In fact, many can be heard gasping when Alem reveals he was just at his father’s funeral that very day.

“My father died yesterday, May 15, 2024, and I attended his funeral today, right before graduation,” Alem shares in his speech, as seen above. “That’s why my shoes are muddy and my arms are shaking. I had to carry him to his grave and bury him. 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.”

Teen’s Heartfelt Valedictorian Speech Speaks to Those Experiencing Loss

He concludes his speech by insisting that any of his beloved classmates would do the same for a loved one of theirs in a heartbeat. Alem’s words are quickly met with overwhelming applause, helping this heartbroken teen feel seen. This is something he continues to feel as his speech goes viral — so many are sending their condolences and sharing stories of their own losses.

“It’s so comforting. Strangers are sharing their experiences with me so that I don’t feel so alone,” Alem says. “I’m responding to every single person.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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