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See Where Your Favorite ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ Actors Are Today — Lauren Collins, Cassie Steele and More!

Ready to feel old? Degrassi: The Next Generation premiered in October 2001! That’s right, it’s been two decades since audiences fell in love with the teen drama starring Miriam McDonaldCassie SteeleAubrey Graham (now known as Drake), Ryan Cooley, Lauren Collins and so many more.

Prior to Degrassi: The Next Generation, there was Degrassi Junior High, which came out in 1987, and Degrassi High, which came out in 1989. So, how do the prequels relate to the series you grew up watching? Well, Miriam McDonald’s character, Emma Nelson, is actually the daughter of Christine “Spike” Nelson, played by actress Amanda Stepto, on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. Christine got pregnant with Emma when she was 14 years old. With that, Degrassi: The Next Generation is just a continuation of her story — except the focus was on Emma and her friends.

Nowadays, there are more than enough teen dramas handling hard-hitting subjects — i.e. 13 Reasons WhyEuphoria and Ginny & Georgia. However, the Degrassi franchise was the first of its kind to push the envelope on more taboo subjects like substance abuse, sexual assault, teen pregnancy, self-harm, sexuality, school shootings and more.

Speaking with Vice during a 2015 interview, Degrassi cocreator Linda Schuyler explained why the series chose to dive deeper than the average show about teenagers. “If kids talk about it in the schoolyard or at sleepovers, we need to talk about it on our show. We try very hard to be authentic,” she said.

“We’re not trying to sensationalize them. At the same time, we’re not trying to penalize or minimize them either. Because these are real issues,” Linda added. “We also have lovely stories about two girls arriving to prom in the same dress or a girl showing off a keychain to her friends and not realizing it’s a sexual vibrator or about penis pumps and how they work. Really fun stories.”

Unfortunately, the Degrassi franchise came to somewhat of an abrupt end in 2015. That said, thanks to the beauty of streaming, plenty of fans — new and old — still get to enjoy the stories and of course, characters.

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos of where your favorite Degrassi: The Next Generation actors are today!