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Seniors offer ‘heartwarming’ surprise to student who lost both parents before graduation

HERMANN, Mo. – Zack Ruediger was set to graduate from Hermann High School in Missouri. A few days before graduation, his father suddenly died, according to a report from KTVI.

“A blood clot broke loose and took him from the family,” Zack told KTVI.

Zack also lost his mother in 2012.

“It’s made me grow up a lot faster than I think anyone should ever have to,” he said.

Zack’s fellow graduating seniors wanted to do something special for him. When all 68 students walked across stage to receive their diploma, they handed their principal money. The students wanted the money to go to Zack and his family.

Zack noticed everyone handing over cash, so he emptied his pockets. It was not until after graduation he was told the money was for him.

“That’s just like Zack,” said classmate Jamie Gleeson. “He’s really sweet and nice.”

The students raised more than $800. Another $500 was donated by Zack’s employer.

“When the time comes, they just step up each and every time,” said Deputy Superintendent Gary Leimkuehler. “It’s just heartwarming.”

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