A triple crown graduation

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What happens when your triplets graduate from three different colleges, in three different states, over the course of one weekend? John Marbach and Sherry Pressler from Belle Mead, N.J., know the answer: planes, trains and automobiles.

"Four nights out, three different hotels, train tickets, car travel and airplane travel, wow," said Pressler.

Her triplets - Melanie, Megan and John Jr. Marbach - graduated respectively from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Md., May 16; Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., May 17; and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., May 18.

The planning of the trip actually got underway in 2010. Even then, Sherry and John worried about the triplets' college graduations being on the same day.

"When they were choosing where to attend college four years ago, I remember checking the graduation calendars," said Pressler. "I would be heartbroken not to be able to attend all three graduation ceremonies."

"All three children felt it was important to attend each other's graduation," said Marbach.

The parents' graduation weekend started Thursday afternoon when they departed New Jersey. First stop was Baltimore, for Melanie's graduation from Loyola. Meanwhile, Megan traveled by train from Fairfield to New Jersey and then drove to Maryland while John Jr. flew in from North Carolina.

Friday evening, the family had dinner in Baltimore to celebrate Melanie's graduation, a gathering that doubled as a 22nd birthday party for the triplets.

After the Loyola graduation Saturday morning, the next stop was Connecticut. The Marbachs began a road trip up Interstate 95 northbound to Fairfield, located about an hour from Manhattan.

Fairfield's commencement was 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Then it was off to Fairfield Beach for a celebration luncheon hosted by Megan and her roommates at their house. Afterward, the five Marbachs drove to JFK Airport for a flight to Winston-Salem and made their way to Wake Forest for John Jr.'s gradution Monday at 9 a.m.

"It's worth it - all the traveling," said Megan. "It's about encouraging each other on."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015