Seniors’ ‘heartwarming’ gesture during graduation surprises student who lost both parents

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

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.”

Read more: KTVI


  • Lou

    May the memories you have get you through the tough times and remember how proud your parents are of you.

  • Angela

    This is the most beautiful heart warming story. I am so glad that GOD has blessed this young man with such wonderful
    classmates. I pray his future will be very bright & successful. I hope that there is a fund for him to attend college.
    I will certainly keep him & his future in my prayers. GOD BLESS THE STUDENTS IN THAT SCHOOL FOR THE GOODNESS IN THEIR HEARTS. It will come back to them one day when they least expect it. What a blessing !!!!

  • brandon

    wow what a way to let him know that his parents are both proud and there to attend such an important moment in a young mans life.

  • pattym

    God Bless each and everyone of those who stepped up to help this young man move forward! Zack, I wish you all the best that life has to offer and much happiness along the way.

  • Michael Sutton

    Good for him to not give up, like him I lost both my parents. Except I lost mine in a car wreck in 2011. Follow your dreams Zack and they will be proud from heaven.

  • Jennie White

    I lost my niece on January 4, 2014, as well as, my dad on January 22, 2014. It was unexpected for both of them and way too soon for them to go. But, they are both with God and I know he is watching over us. He is my own personal angel. My prayers go out to you and your family through these difficult times. And God Bless your graduating class for doing something so spectacular!!! :-)

  • Kevin Goddard

    I’m glad he never gave up. His classmates showed their true character by helping him out without a second thought. Everyone can learn something from their selfless act. Congratulations class of 2014, I wish them the best at college and in life

  • darey

    May humanity bless these kids for there generosity. May they be an example to the power within themselves.

    • Cammi

      Most likely just a smaller school in a rural area. completely plausible that there were only 68 students in the graduating class.

    • Dianne

      My twin sons graduate this year and there are only 65 students in the graduating class. There are many small towns in America that do have high schools.

    • Michelle

      My twin son’s graduating class was 16 kids. We also live in a small town where there are schools in Missouri. Geez!!

    • tammy

      My daughters class only had 75 students its a small school ….glad to see that today’s young adults are compassionate may they all be blessed and go far in the future congrats class of 2014

  • Donna Moore

    So sorry for the loss of your father Zack just before graduating. Also your mother in 2012.
    Congratulations on your graduating from high school, praying now that God will be your strength in the days ahead, may He comfort you when you need it and hold you and your sister tight. You will both be o.k. Know that many are out here praying for you. Take-care and God bless you.

  • evelyn

    congrats Zack I know your parents are very proud of you.And your class mates . My grandson and grand daughter just lost there mom in October this year and my grandson graduated in may.I KNOW YOU WILL DO GOOD IN LIFE.

  • Ann

    Congrats Zack God is always on time and God is always soooooo good! Put God first in your life and things will fall in place in his timing!!! I wish you and your sister the best in life!

  • Ryann

    Why are stories like this not front page news? Why are we not seeing stuff like this as news updates? Why instead do they keep giving power for those who choose to end the lives of others? Lets start focusing on stuff like THIS, this is news worthy, this is important, this makes our world look a little less scary and bad!!!!!!

Comments are closed.