Share this article

print logo

Where are they now?

Here's a look at "what happened next" for just a few of the young people whose stories were told in NeXt over the past 10 years:

DEANNA NAGEL, who wrote to NeXt for a "Taking NeXt on Vacation" from Iraq where she was serving with the National Guard 105th Military Police, was profiled upon her return in June 2004. She just finished her associate's degree in criminal justice at Erie Community College and plans to go on to study marine biology. She runs an antiques and collectibles business called D&Dee's Goodies on weekends at the Port of Entry in Getzville. Her service with the 105th took her to Italy this summer. "I am still really bothered by the events that took place in Iraq and I think I always will be, but I am glad to be alive and home again with my family and friends. I thank God for that every day," she said.

* * *

KATIE KETCHUM, 21, who was profiled in NeXt in June 2000 when she was a sophomore at Frontier High, is now ranked the top woman street in-line skater in the world by the Aggressive Skaters Association, a ranking she will defend in late October at the LG world championships in Manchester, England. In a phone interview from Los Angeles, she reports she placed eighth against 30 male competitors at the Asian X Games in Seoul, Korea, at the beginning of the summer. "I was the only female competitor in the inline park event. I was a little nervous because I've never entered a contest as the only female so it was really cool and a little nerve-wracking as well," she said. She's finishing up her last year at California State University in Northridge, working on a degree in kinesiology (exercise science). She still has never broken a bone skating.

* * *

ROCHELLE WHITE won a top Youth Editors Association award for her compelling story about her experience as a teen mom. Now 21, she is living in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Houston Community College with high honors and is now majoring in television and radio broadcasting at the University of Houston. She is also working fulltime for the Houston Read Commission, a literacy organization. As someone who had to leave regular school to get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) after she had a baby, she likes helping "those like me when I was younger." Her daughter, Destiny, just started kindergarten. "She's doing great. She loves school."

* * *

SARA RIGAS of Wellsville also won a YEA award, for her 2002 compelling story about her battle with anorexia. After graduating from Wellsville High School, she went to Dartmouth but her eating disorder "got the better of her" during the first semester and she came home 30 pounds thinner, reports her mom, Sandy. After 18 months in Wellsville working and taking a few classes at Alfred State, she spent two months in China with "Cross-Cultural Solutions," teaching conversational English to Chinese medical students. She then transferred to the University of Hawaii, where she is working on a degree in Asian studies. She is currently studying in China.

* * *

MIYOKO OHTAKE was profiled in NeXt in January 2001 right before the peak of her figure skating career -- skating for the Canadian Junior National Team and winning a bronze medal in the Junior Ladies event in Slovenia against 30 other skaters from around the world in elite amateur competition. She enrolled at 16 at the University at Toronto where she plans to finish her degree in June. She quit skating in 2002 but later skated for the University of Toronto's varsity figure skating team and coached for the Amherst Skating Club, Skating Club of Western New York/Skate Great Inc. and the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH). After working as an intern for The Buffalo News this summer, she has decided to pursue a journalism career.

* * *

TAYLOR DEWEY, 24, wrote NeXt cover stories about kayaking the entire length of the Erie Canal, his year in Italy as an exchange student and riding his bicycle across America. Now, he's a Navy officer serving on the USS Taylor based outside Jacksonville, Fla. While working on a degree in government at Cornell, he studied in Australia for a semester, rode his bike from Paris to Budapest to Rome and rode his bike around Japan. He just got back from a six-month deployment in the Mediterranean, is working on his civilian pilot's license and is training to become a master diver. "I like to try and keep busy, do different things," he said in a phone call with NeXt. After finishing his four-year Navy commitment, he hopes to get a graduate degree in national security studies or international relations.

* * *

IRENA SENDLER: LIFE IN A JAR: NeXt ran a story in September 2002 about teens from Uniontown, Kansas, and their Irena Sendler Project/Life in a Jar project honoring the Polish Catholic who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Teacher Norman Conard reports that the students are still presenting their play about Sendler around the country, and that they returned to Poland to visit her this summer for a belated celebration of her 95th birthday. "We understood how ironic it was to be presenting in Warsaw, Kansas Protestants, telling the story of Polish Catholics, who saved Jewish children, and being filmed by the press of Europe, especially a German State television crew. Sixty years after the fall of Nazi Germany, the producer of the German crew came up to us in tears after the program and said, 'this is the most touching story I've even seen,'" the students wrote later. Find information about the project at

> A NeXt Timeline:

Sept. 12, 1995: NeXt is printed for the first time, on a Tuesday.

March 3, 2004: NeXt publication moves to Wednesday; the comics move out, the Minipages move in.

March 17, 2004: NeXt is printed for the first time on The News' new presses.

There are no comments - be the first to comment