METHUEN — No one is going to dispute that the likelihood of giving birth to triplets is extremely rare.
By the numbers, of 100,000 live births, five are triplets, quadruplets or more, according to Multiples of America, an organization that supports and connects families which have experienced the arrival of more than one child in a single birth.
So how about the likelihood of having three sets of triplets in the same graduating class?
That’s got to be even more unlikely but the 131 eighth-graders who graduated from Marsh Grammar School on Friday evening included no less than three sets of triplets.
Wesley, Rylan and Austin Gangi are the sons of Paul and Amy Gangi. Elsa, Anthony and Kyle Ferullo are the children of Stephen and Rena Ferullo, while John, Kaitlyn and Mackenzie Tierney’s parents are John and Kathy Tierney.
What is it like to have two siblings who are exactly the same age as you and never far away?
“You always have someone to talk to,” said Kaitlyn Tierney, who along with her brother and sister will attend Methuen High School in the fall.
Wesley and Rylan Gangi are headed for Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen while Austin is enrolled at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence.
“Austin doesn’t like me,” Rylan said with a laugh.
The Ferullos will attend Alvirne High School in Hudson, New Hampshire, in September. Their family is moving to the Granite State, they explained.
Robert Marino, associate principal for the upper middle school at Marsh, said he has never heard of any graduating class having as many as three sets of triplets.
“They are so absolutely amazing,” said Brendan Parker, dean of students at the school, which serves about 1,200 pupils in prekindergarten through eighth grade. He described them as “well-rounded citizens” and credited their parents with “raising them to be independent.”
Amy Gangi said she knew she was going to give birth to more than one child but figured she would have twins.
“I didn’t expect to have triplets,” Gangi said. During their early years, she recalled, they could be a challenge.
If all three walked or crawled out of a room but only two returned, Gangi said she would have to go find the missing child.
Wesley Gangi has endured medical issues since he was born and has spent a lot of time in hospitals. That has not hampered his will to live a full life, however.
When he was only 9, he organized Wesley’s Wishes Toy Drive, which benefited the patients at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
Wesley and the eight other Marsh graduates who share the distinction of being triplets appear to be ready to take on the challenges of high school.