[Fox News] Texas teen honors late dad with tearjerking graduation speech hours after his burial: Doing this ‘for him’

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A Texas high school valedictorian who delivered a tearjerking speech against the backdrop of burying his father earlier that morning said he summoned the strength to keep going as he looked out over the crowd and saw how his words had touched everyone.

“I didn’t know if I even had the strength to do it. I was up there talking about my dad, and at any time I could have just I could have [stopped]. I wanted to stop, but I looked in the audience and I saw people listening to what I was saying and really taking it in and relating to me, getting touched by the words that were coming out of my mouth, and that’s what really kept me going. That’s what pushed me to finish my speech,” Alem Hadzic, the graduate behind the moving moment, said Sunday on the Fox News Channel.

The 18-year-old graduate lost his father, Miralem, to cancer on May 15, just one day before the ceremony at Early College High School in a community just north of Dallas. 

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Standing before the crowd of peers and their loved ones, he wore the same muddied shoes he wore as he carried his father to his grave during his burial earlier that morning.

“I wrote the speech the morning before [the graduation ceremony], which is the morning he died. That was before I even knew that his funeral would be the next day,” he told “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Will Cain. 

“So I knew I was going to talk about him,” he said. “I didn’t know that I was going to be burying him right before I gave the speech.”

Behind the podium, he told his peers his arms were shaking from carrying the casket, and that his father’s wish for him to achieve all of his goals gave him the determination to go to college and do just that.

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“That’s why I’m going to go to college, and I’m going to spend every hour of every day working as hard as I can to achieve all of my goals, because that’s what he wanted, and I want to do it for him,” he told the crowd. 

His original script mentioned his father’s death, but many of his words came on the spot, without any preparation.

“The part about the funeral, the part about me burying him and the ending, that was all added later. That wasn’t in the script. That was in the moment. That was from the heart,” he explained.

His speech received a standing ovation and praise from friends. It later went viral, garnering attention across media outlets as a heartwarming and uplifting message about family, strength  and perseverance.

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“My takeaway is that anything I accomplish, I’m going to do it for my family, because they truly are the ones that have always been there for me and will keep being there for me,” he said to conclude the segment on Sunday.

“So I’m going to keep working hard. Like I said in my speech, I’m going to do it for my mom and my sister, and I’m going to do it for my dad.”

Hadzic plans to enroll at the University of Texas in the fall, where he will study chemical engineering, according to PEOPLE.

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