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All grown up

Hamilton (OH) – They don’t stay little for long.

Certainly not for two decades.

The 2-year-old pictured making paper art at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts during the Great Miami Arts Jam in May of 2004 is now a college graduate.

Nicolas Tragesser – photographed by E.L. Hubbard for the Journal News and included in a May 1, 2024, online gallery looking back 20 years - returned to the Fitton Center to recreate an image he didn’t remember making.

“I was pretty young,” the West Chester resident recently said with a shrug and a smile. “But just the fact that you guys reached out, that felt like a fun thing to do.”

The Fitton Center shared the original Journal photo on its social media channels May 6 and asked for assistance finding its subject. It only took a day for the internet to come through, providing contact information that led to his mom - Julie Tragesser – who works in human resources for Butler County.

“Awwww, that makes my day,” she wrote when contacted with the photo “Thank you so very much for sharing!”

Julie got word to Nicolas that he was a wanted man. That he called quickly and was a good sport about it probably isn’t a surprise to his family and friends.

Despite the gusto with a Crayola marker displayed in the picture, Tragesser leaned more toward athletics than the arts growing up. He eventually played on an Ohio Division I state runner-up volleyball team at Moeller High School and just earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Leadership Management from Miami University.

While at Miami, Tragesser joined the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity – “I met my closest friends there; guys who will be friends for a lifetime,” he said – and studied abroad in New Zealand earlier this year. He shifted away from team competition, but remains an active athlete, lifting weights and trying to improve his golf game.

Tragesser begins a sales job with Motus Freight – a logistics company based in Bellvue, Ky. – this week.

Any advice for his younger self?

“Just be accepting of everything that happens to you,” Tragesser said. “It’s all part of how you got here. Everything works out.”

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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