Premature Triplets Graduate High School as Co-Valedictorians

By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life

Ohio triplets Sadie, Gage, and Caydin Barker have defied the odds throughout their lives. Born prematurely at just 34 weeks on September 30, 2004, the Barker triplets recently accomplished a remarkable feat—they graduated as co-valedictorians and salutatorian of their high school class.

Caydin and Sadie were named co-valedictorians at Sebring McKinley High School, while Gage earned the title of salutatorian, according to NBC 15. These outstanding students were also members of the National Honor Society, demonstrating their commitment to academic excellence.

Reflecting on their journey, their mother, Becky Pusateri-Barker, recalled the challenging circumstances surrounding their birth. In 2004, she was carrying quadruplets, but tragically lost one of them in the second trimester. To ensure the survival of her remaining three children, she spent an incredible 83 days in the hospital, fighting to delay labor and provide her babies with crucial development time.

Those arduous days in the hospital, Pusateri-Barker shared, were some of the most demanding she had ever experienced. Nevertheless, she expressed gratitude for the outcome, saying, “They have been our biggest blessing and our greatest reward.”

On May 21, the triplets proudly graduated alongside their classmates. They have ambitious plans for their future education: Sadie will attend the University of Cincinnati with aspirations of pursuing law school, Gage will study at the Electrical Lineman trade school, and Caydin will delve into electrical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

Their mother, while immensely proud of their accomplishments, admits to feeling a tinge of sadness as her children prepare to leave home. She anticipates making frequent four-hour drives to Cincinnati and sending care packages to support them on their respective journeys.

Medical advancements in recent years have allowed younger and smaller premature babies to thrive. Notably, the smallest recorded surviving baby weighed less than 9 ounces at birth in California. The earliest known premature baby to survive outside the womb was born at just 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. The survival story of this baby girl was highlighted in the journal Pediatrics in 2017.

In 2022, twins Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah from Ontario, Canada, achieved a significant milestone. Born at exactly 22 weeks of pregnancy, they were considered “non-viable.” However, they defied the odds and became the youngest premature twins to survive, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Their parents, devout Christians, attributed their survival to the power of prayer and their unwavering faith in God.