"It's made me grow up a lot faster then I think anyone should ever have to."
Zack Ruediger's words are achingly true after his father suddenly died from a blood clot a few days before his high school graduation. His mother died in 2012.
It was a bittersweet moment when Zack graduated from Hermann High School in Hermann, Mo., but all the same, he participated in the school tradition of graduating seniors handing money to the principal to go to charity. When it was Zack's turn, he gave all the cash in his pockets.
After graduation, he was shocked to learn the special beneficiary the Class of 2014 chose for this year's collection: Zack and his family. The graduation raised over $800 while Zack's employer kicked in another $500.
"Everyone just started cheering because we were really, really happy how much money we raised," said classmate Kirsten Leimkuehler. "It's just really cool we had the opportunity to do that."