By Paul Paeglis
Executive Director, Ohio Tuition Trust Authority/CollegeAdvantage 529
June 8, 2015

Graduation season is the time of year when families and friends come together to celebrate accomplishments of completion along the educational path. It means one has put in the necessary work to move on to the next phase of their life. Graduation comes in various forms of celebration—from those darling preschool graduation ceremonies as little ones head to elementary school, the middle school “clap outs” as parents recognize students on their way to high school and the big events of graduating from high school , college and beyond in lifelong learning pursuits.
The graduation ceremony is like a rite of passage that schools and families honor with tradition.  There are so many customs that help make a graduation ceremony special; from the cap and gown, to the colors associated with colleges and degrees, academic achievements and awards, the infamous “Pomp and Circumstance,” the guest speaker and let’s not forget about the traditional tassel turn and the final tossing of the graduation hats!

Annually, students and families sit through lengthy ceremonies filled with speeches, music and songs, special presentations, the parade of graduates, and more just to hear those final words of “congratulations graduates!” We do all this because the accomplishment of graduation is significant and important in one’s life.

Students leave their graduation ceremonies with memories of how they got to this point and fresh ideas about what they plan to do next. Many also take this opportunity to thank those who helped them get to this day; sometimes with a message of thanks taped to their cap for all to see! For parents, family and friends who supported the student in their efforts, graduation time is one full of pride and celebration.

During this time of year, when the official ceremonies are concluding and the graduation parties are taking place, we can reflect about our own educational achievements and how we might encourage and support our loved ones in the pursuit of their dreams. Graduation season is also a good time to consider starting or adding to a 529 college savings plan for the young ones in your life. It’s never too soon, or too late, to help get a child on the path to college graduation.

In celebration of graduation season, NBC News recently aired a video: Class of 2015: A Roundup of Our Favorite Commencement Speeches. “In a salute to the graduates embarking on the next chapter of their lives, here are some of the best pieces of advice handed to the class of 2015.” (NBC News, May 29, 2015)

About the Author:
Paul Paeglis is the Executive Director of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority (OTTA), and has over 20 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry.  In addition to his role at OTTA, Paul is a member of the Executive Board of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), and is also serving as Treasurer of CSPN.  As of March 31, 2015, CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Plan, serves over 644,000 account owners, with $9.4 billion in assets under management.

(photo:, purchased by Ohio Tuition Trust Authority)