‘5th Grader’: What Ever Happened To The Original Classmates?

One is a big time actress -- others are studying nursing, physical therapy

The original cast of 'Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader'

Marki Meyer — one of the six original child stars of ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER — had no idea she was frightfully ill while appearing on the hit Fox game show in 2007.

“In the sixth grade, shortly after the show ended, I got very sick,” she remembers.

“I lost a lot of weight and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  The doctors said I was probably sick for months.

“My [blood sugar] number was 958 when I was in the hospital.  They said I should have been in a coma!”

Marki, now 19, calls the experience “life changing” and says it prompted her to pursue a career in nursing.

She is currently attending Point Loma University in San Diego on a basketball scholarship.

Marki Meyer of 'Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?'

“My doctor has told me that as long as I keep my diabetes under control, I can do all the things I love,” she tells TheTVPage.com.

Marki, a native of Ventura County, California, was one six youngsters who helped 5th GRADER become one of the most-beloved game shows of its generation.

It aired in syndication (with additional “classmates”) until four years ago.

The quiz show — which gives adults a chance to win $1 million by answering questions from elementary school text books — returns to primetime tonight at 8:00 PM.

“My [college] roommate, when she found out that I was on it, went back and looked up old episodes,” Marki says.

“When we watched it, I kept smiling because I was remembering so many great memories.”

So what happened to the rest of the original cast?  We tracked them down to find out…


Alana Etheridge on 'Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?'


An avid soccer player, Alana will graduate high school in San Diego next month.

She plans to study physical therapy at Southern Methodist University in the fall.

“I definitely want to be involved with sports for the rest of my life, so working for a sports team would be really awesome,” she says.

Since appearing on the show, Alana has given much of her free time to charity work.

At 11, she started a program called Alana’s Achievers which helps kids from financially strapped families participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

“I volunteer for other peoples organizations which is really awesome, but I wanted to do some thing that was really important to me,” she tells me.

Nearly a decade later, Alana remains best friends with former cast member Jacob Hays.

“Jacob is my soul mate,” she says.

Fun fact:  Alana was the youngest of the show’s classmates.  She was actually enrolled in a 4th-5th grade combo class when she was cast.


Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly