STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) – Stillwater High School’s class of 2013 walked the stage at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul to receive their diplomas Saturday night without one of its brightest stars.
Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with a deadly form of bone cancer. Through his positive outlook, he tried to live life as normal as possible.
Sadly, Zach died two weeks before graduation.
His farewell song, “Clouds,” inspired the country. It’s become a YouTube sensation that’s attracted more than seven million views.
It hit the number one spot on iTunes two days after Zach passed away.
Laura and Rob Sobiech are looking forward to watching the Stillwater High School Class of 2013 receive their diplomas.
“I just really want to be there for the friends that stood by him. I want to see those kids because I’ve become really close to those kids,” Laura said.
The Sobiechs know how special this day is. Zach was sick all through high school but continued to work towards earning his diploma – an effort his classmates would recognize along with their own.
“This is a big day for everybody. It’s not just about Zach. I just didn’t want that to overshadow,” she said.
A chair was left empty for Zach, and all in attendance observed a moment of silence in his honor.
Laura and Rob hope the graduates learned from Zach. His farewell song inspired millions, and taught us all how to face death with a positive attitude, strength and grace.
Zach taught everyone he touched humility and kindness, lessons his parents hope graduates take with them on their next life adventure.
“Don’t get too stressed out with the daily stuff and the issues that come up in which the world is affecting you personally,” Rob said. “Think bigger picture and think bigger picture as to how you might be able to help someone else.”
Zach’s parents hope graduates across the globe make it a priority to try and make the world a better place, just like Zach did.
They say it doesn’t have to be a huge production to change the world; you can do it just with the people around you.