Kindergartener hits a nerve with adults when he dedicates graduation speech to late mom

A touching tribute at a kindergarten graduation left not a single dry eye in the room.
The star of the show?

A 6-year-old boy named Jaxon Carter.


He stood up and dedicated his speech to his “beautiful mommy,” a phrase that tugged at everyone’s heartstrings.

Jaxon’s world was turned upside down when his mother, Taryn Marie Gainey, tragically passed away in an apartment fire last July.
As if coping with such a loss wasn’t challenging enough, Jaxon had to start kindergarten at a new school, New Dawn Academy, just a few weeks later.

His father, Justin Carter, shared with “Good Morning America” how the school became a beacon of hope for them.

“I had to find a school for him last-minute and it just so happened that the school was a great fit for him,” Carter said.

“The school alone was a lifesaver.”


As the school year came to a close, Jaxon’s teacher saw something special in him and asked if he’d like to give a speech at the graduation ceremony.
Little did anyone know, this “little speech” would evolve into a heartfelt valedictory address.

Preparing for the big day, Jaxon teamed up with his grandmother to craft his speech.
His father was kept in the dark about its contents, making the moment even more poignant.

“His teacher asked him if he could give a little speech,” Carter recalled.

“The little speech turned into a full valedictory speech.”


With confidence and grace beyond his years, Jaxon began, “When I started kindergarten at New Dawn Academy in August 2022, I was a little 5-year-old who had lost my beautiful mother a month before.”

He paused, taking a moment to gather himself before continuing.

He spoke of the lessons he learned, both academic and personal, saying, “My kindergarten year helped me grow braver, smarter, kind-hearted, and more grateful.”

Jaxon’s gratitude extended to his teacher, whom he described as having a “big heart.”
He fondly remembered her comforting words, “When I was sad, she used to tell me it would be all right.”

He also expressed his love and appreciation for his grandparents and his father, declaring, “You are the best daddy ever, and I love you so very much.”


The climax of his speech was a touching dedication. “I dedicate my speech, good grades, all school awards, and my kindergarten graduation to my beautiful mommy, who I will always love and miss so very much,” Jaxon said.
“I know she will always be with me in my heart.”

Justin Carter was overwhelmed with emotion, saying he was “shocked and speechless” watching his son’s moving tribute.
“The expressions, the words, everything that he was saying, you could see that he meant every word of it,” he said.

“He didn’t fumble … it was remarkable.”

The principal of New Dawn Academy, Conrad R. Koch, echoed these sentiments, praising Jaxon’s resilience and spirit.

“I greet all the students in the morning and I always had a ‘good morning’ from him or a high-five. He came to school with a good attitude, ready to learn,” Koch shared.

“Whether it was the spelling bee, learning how to read, learning how to write his name, whatever the challenge was, Jaxon was able to meet it.”

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