Triplets graduate Scottish university on same day with first-class honours

The trio graduated with first-class honours in their respective degrees after overcoming the death of their father, Joe, who died at the age of 57 from motor neurone disease.

Triplets graduate Aberdeen University on same day with first-class honours PA Media

A set of triplets believed to be the first to graduate all together at the same university with first-class honours have said the moment was “bittersweet” after the loss of their father.

Anna, John and Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco, 22, are originally from New Jersey in the US, but they relocated to Scotland in 2020 with their family where they began studying at the University of Aberdeen.

The trio graduated with first-class honours in their respective four-year degrees on Tuesday after overcoming the hurdles of the Covid-19 pandemic and the death of their father, Joe, who died at the age of 57 from motor neurone disease (MND) in 2022.

“A lot of people think it’s quite strange because you don’t see it very often, but for the three of us, it’s very much business as usual,” Josh, who studied theology and politics, told the PA news agency.

“Moving forward, it’s very much going to be a parting of the ways and moving on and doing our own things, so this is the last big thing we get to do all together.”

Josh said the siblings had a “perfect day” and got a “shout-out” from the presiding officer.

“It was definitely a huge encapsulation of all of our education together, just the last moment that we all share, I think was very, very impactful, for me certainly,” he said.

Anna, who graduated in history and international relations, said: “It’s a very full circle moment and I think we’re all pleased to be doing this last thing together and excited to be moving on into our own different things.”

Josh (left), Anna (middle) and John (right) celebrated their graduation together on Tuesday at the University of Aberdeen.

John, who studied theology and religion, in a joint degree with sociology, added the moment was “bittersweet” following the death of their father.

“It (was) very exciting to see the fruits of our labours – it’s been a rough couple of years and also academically challenging,” he said.

“It (was) bittersweet as well without dad there, remembering him being there for the highlights but we know he’s proud of us.”

Their family, also consisting of their mother, Julia, in her early 50s, and their five-year-old sister Lydia, moved to the UK after their mother became a minister in the Church of Scotland, with Josh saying they “came along for the ride”.

Six months after arriving, their father was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in January 2021.

“From that moment, we banded together and supported each other,” John said.

“I would say to everyone who is in that situation, and in life in general, to cherish the ones you have in your family and your friends and the people close to you because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Josh added they were able to “get through it together”.

“We had a really supportive group of friends and we really had a sense of togetherness and being able to rely on each other,” he said.

The trio have marked all of their educational milestones together, from pre-school through to graduating high school together in the US.

The trio have marked all of their educational milestones together.

“We’ve always been in the same pre-school, primary and secondary, they’ve been quite small schools for most of them as well, so all of our big things were together,” Anna said.

While the triplets feel as though there is a “competitive edge” to their dynamic, they have always supported and “rallied around” each other throughout their childhoods and their time in education.

John said: “We’re very supportive of one another and we’re always there for each other, but we do have a competitive edge.

“Growing up, the three of us at the same time, going through all of the same things – we keep ourselves competitive but we don’t go too far.”

Looking ahead, the triplets said their “ultimate goal” is to remain in the UK to begin their careers – with Josh pursuing a career in journalism, John looking to work as a minister or social care worker, and Anna looking to undertake a Masters or a PhD.

“I’m really hoping to stay in Scotland, the people are lovely and all throughout university we’ve met lots of incredible people,” John said.

“The Scottish people have been so friendly and accepting of us and brought us into their lives.

“It’s a beautiful community and a beautiful place.”

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