• Mr. Speaker, millions of American teenagers walked across the stage in their cap and gown and received their diploma after four years of hard work. Their high school careers officially came to an end and the next chapter will soon take off. High school graduation is an exciting time meant for celebration with friends and family. But one Texas student did not get to cross the stage in his green cap and gown to receive his high school diploma.
  • Omar Rodas from Houston, Texas was an 18 year old student at Klein Forest High School.
  • He was a tenacious student. Constantly, he put in the extra effort to make his dream of graduation a reality. He stayed for after school hours and worked overtime to ensure that he would graduate. He spent his extra time bussing tables at a local restaurant, Babins.
  • At first he did not think that he would be able to graduate, but Omar pulled it off. He worked tirelessly for that cap and gown and to make sure he was part of the big day in June. His friends said that he was so excited that the hours of extra time and effort made his dream of graduating a reality.
  • Omar was on his way to his graduation ceremony early Saturday morning on June 6, 2015. His good friend agreed to drive him that morning to ensure that he would make it to the ceremony on time. On the Houston highway, he was suddenly killed in a violent car accident involving two other cars. Omar was already wearing his cap and gown when rescue crews pulled him out of the wreck.
  • Initial reports have suggested that around 7:00 am, the vehicle he was in veered out of the lane and hit the back of a dump truck, and after an SUV then veered in front of the truck and was struck. 
  • Omar was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Friends and family at the graduation ceremony were surprised and confused when Omar's name was called and he did not cross the stage.
  • No one knew that a terrible highway accident took the life of the bright student.
  • A candle vigil was held for Omar on June 7th at Klein Forest High School and student, parents, and friends are helping the family by setting up a GoFund account in order to help them raise money for the funeral so that the family may grieve properly without the worry of money. Many who attended the vigil wore red, Omar's favorite color, and many of the Class of 2015 students wore their graduation caps in honor of him.
  • Omar is survived by his parents, an older sister who previously graduated from Klein Forest High School and a younger brother. He had plans to continue working and hopefully attend Lone Star College after graduation.
  • Even though Omar did not get to hear his name called and physically walk the stage to take his diploma, the community has not stopped cheering for him.
  • Omar's memory will live on through his family, friends and classmates in Houston. He will always be a great example of how no matter the circumstances, hard work will always pay off.
  • Our prayers are with the Rodas family and all of Omar's friends.
  • And that's just the way it is.