Teen gets special graduation; father dies hours before ceremony - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Teen gets special graduation; father dies hours before ceremony

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GLENDALE, Ariz.(FOX 10)-A valley teen lost his dad unexpectedly the day he was supposed to graduate from high school. His friends and the school made sure he was still able to get the graduation he deserved and worked so hard for.

"It was supposed to be the best night of my life," said Alex Ward.

Ward was preparing to graduate from Ironwood High School last Thursday when his life was turned upside down just an hour before he was supposed to accept his diploma.

While his family was out grabbing lunch, his dad, who decided to stay home, suddenly died.

"While we were gone my grandparents found him not breathing for not too long," said Ward

Ward missed out on accepting his I. B. honors diploma he'd worked so hard for.

The day after graduation, Alex got a phone call from one of the teachers at Ironwood High School.

He thought they were just going to present him with his diploma, but what he got was a big surprise.

"They gave me my own personal graduation. The only word I can use to describe it was awe," said Ward. "I was expecting a few friends, a few of my teachers just to give me my diploma since I've worked four years for it, and I walked in and there were 200 people in there...school board, governing board, everything."

Although Ward wasn't able to graduate with his class or have his biggest supporter-- his dad--there, he was still able to relish in the time honored tradition of graduation.

"I don't think words can even describe how grateful I am.  I did not expect that many people to show up, frankly, because it's the day after graduation. They were all done with high school, not a single one of them had to come back and over 200 people showed up. I want them to be recognized for what they did," said Ward.

"It's been the two most conflicting emotions I've ever had. I have the grief of my dad dying, but I had such a display from friends and family it really brings faith to humanity, it really does."

Ward is planning on attending Colorado University in Colorado Springs.

He says he's not sure what he's going to major in, but because of all his honors classes in high school, he's entering his first year as a sophomore.

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