North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
BY SUSAN USHER
John Rogoski had never been in trouble with the law
until, at age 28, the world crashed in around him.
The Wilmington resident found himself headed
toward prison. He had lost his apartment, his car, his
job?and his girlfriend of several years.
Instead he was forced to eat, sleep, shower (infrequently)
and go to the toilet in front of more than 100
other men. He had to watch whatever was on a single TV
station because, if he changed channels, everyone in the
prison section got punished. He was surrounded by
homosexual activity?much of it forced on weaker in...V,.,
lJ_'i J-f 1 " ?
huilco wiiu wuuiuii i ueienu memseives.
He was allowed one telephone call each 25 days, for
five minutes only. Friends and family could visit two
hours a week?"you can hold hands, that's all," he said.
Letters and packages were subject to being opened and
That's what life behind bars is all about?"a vacation
you don't want to lake," Rogoski said. "There's no such
thing as going down to McDonald's ... All you are is a
His number? 10557.
Now Rogoski washes pots and pans and trays in a
minimum security facility for $2.80 a week, with a workday
that starts at 3:30 a.m. and continues off and on until
around 9 p.m.
And, starting with this group at Shallotte Middle
School I?noocki telle his stnrv with a soecific goal in
"If I just help one of you it's worth it to me," he said.
Rogoski gave up an opportunity for work release- working
during the day in the community and returning to
prison at night?to participate in a brime prevention program
that tells youngsters to "Think Smart" and stay out
The testimonial program, begun in 1983, appears to
make an impression on youthful audiences, as it did that
day for local seventh- and eighth-graders.
"I learned to say no," a seventh-grader named
Robert said. "1 thought prison was like in-school suspen
"He told me how bad it really was."
So how did it happen? How did John Kogoski go from
All-American boy to criminal?
Seven months behind bars "with no peace and no
privacy" has given Kogoski a new look at his previous
life and a new appreciation of the "outside".
"There's only one way to make money?I'm convinced
of that now," he told a classroom of Shallotte Middle
School seventh graders. "That's by working. By getting a
job and working."
There was a time, less than a year ago. when Hogoski
had a taste?and a need?for easy money.
"You get addicted," he told the students. "I would do
anything I had to do to get cocaine?Including stealing
from my friends and writing bad checks." And?in the
Out Of Hand
Kogoski had lived what he considered a good life, he
said, but one thing gradually led to another The changes
wcr? mo nubile hbt life had changed before he realized
what was happening.
"It starts with being dishonest," he told the
youngsters, some leaning intently forward at their desks,
others clustered on the floor around him. "It starts with
little things, like taking money from your mom's purse
when she's not around, or swiping your dad's beer from
And it also starts with peer pressure, he continued,
going along with the crowd when if comes to drugs, drmking
ami other temptations to go wrong
With a college background in the physical sciences,
the New Jersey native moved to Wilmington to work in
construction with his brother-m-law. He was making
good monev, enjoying life and gradually developing
Updates Available I M
Updates for the 1984 Community I <J Iwl <
Seroct Directory' are available from H w
the Volunteer and Information H 7OUT \~C
Center (VAC) in Bolivia
For more information, call VAC HWYS. 211 1
coordinator Ouida Hewett at 253-4441
Remembers 4 Cooking Programs!
TRJCMMJnC W COmrmCL :ar Zjt+om Ookm 91 W-M 0*v?
PMT an3 C?o? t T-tAt mja. *i ?*? r? mi -J *?*itax*r+
ACCUTHAMT - D *MOSTM? y**ram toi au^M^
M> COO?C*AT>C* LfVCi-S ?? ?d.i M? ;/X? a?/? tfrwi
LCWVYl WJT4?If' COONNO rrrtM --/* ? ?r
ALTTOtUUX: f TA*T TM?C **r? Vr? * ?e?- ct.
(MH RACK ?n fx awi / -r?? -ore** to*
MO HUT? O# COOKjNQ WWl* LOOM toK to*
WIA* UMTTtO ?mwrr j?n >?r? ar-S atxj Sam as
WrtTM CMAS* Ct A**NA V<tCV. * OV*?<
Main St. Shall
o Say 'No' Sa/d V
??kv ... ^
pPr"^jH^B|*. .*r^ Jm
"LEARN TO SAY 'NO'," prison inmate John KoRoskl of
that led him there.
some bad habits.
"If you don't believe drui; habits ean start with marijuana.
you're mistaken," he said. "Acid, heroin, ISO?I
always said, 'I'll never try it.'
"But then you want a better liinh."
Habit Was Costly
And a better high he got. Soon Hogoski was supporting
an $80,000 a year cocaine habit any way he
could?that eventually included uttering and forging bad
checks, breaking and entering, taking $3,000 from the
residence of an acquaintance who owed him money?only
the cash he took belonged to the man's roommate.
"I took the wrong man's money," he said.
Next thing Itogoski knew, he was in court.
The lucky combination of a "gixxl lawyer and a sympathetic
Judge," he said, rescued him from a long active
Instead, he was sentenced to severut yours' active
time suspended with one year's "intensified probation.'
He was put under what itogoski calls "house
arrest"?an 8 p.m. curfew - combined with community
service working without pay ut the Wilmington YMCA
and giving up some of his former associates.
"One month before my probation was to end a friend
from home (New Jersey) showed up and asked me if I'd
like to make some easy money," he recalled.
Soon Itogoski was up to his neck, using and dealing
"I didn't sell to little kids," he told the students. "Hut
I learned that if you sell it, sooner or inter it (jets to the
kids?sixth grade and under that, even."
He was arrested and charged with possession and in.
Parker & Sons, Inc.
ymplete Buildinq Headquarters!
L 17 Supply
| MICRCV/AV E CN EN
*UxJ?! RS40 pr
Touchmatlc' Control With Dafroati
TOUCHMilTtC CCmtWCA. C?r or (Ml i?f M Artf /M? T*
&*? v> rarjui '> m M?f as ' ? >
* COOMMTlC* WWW LCVUf ? M> pme?r uz*/?j a^amf,
tcur??rt wrtmmmn* COCmmo rrrrtu c?m m ?r?j ?r^#f
?*0 MfTI O* COOKMO W??f* y/M MM Vr/Ji ' VI
4.* * ?M
S-TfA* UMfTIO ?W?W'? MMVI ;*n? <r< #// A*< >,
i Popper Bacon Dish
wo Serving Bowls
OME SUPPLY j
otte 754-6792 [
Vay To Stay Out C
jk * * ^
I. i I
^^KBRJpGB h I m
Wilmington told Shallottc Middle School seventh-graders reeen
tent to sell and deliver cocaine. He faced sentences of up
to 35 years in prison unless he talked about his connee- 1
tions. HoKo.ski was scared to squeal, however, because 1
the people he had been dealing with were big time 1
Still, he was "lucky" when he returned to court. He f
comes up for his first parole hcurinK in July and could be i
released, he thinks, by October 1987. I
After seven months In prison, ltogoski told students t
lie's just now becoininK himself again.
"I lost a year snorting cocaine," he said. "I'm just i
now getting my memory back." 1
His face has healed. At one time the tissues in and <
around his nose were burned out, raw from cocaine use.
Itogoski, now 29, is one of three tnmutes ut the '
minimum security camp in Wilmington selected to par- I
ticipnte in the N.C. Department of Corrections crime
prevention proKrnm culled "Think Smurt."
Sale Begins Today 1
up to 60% 0
i /,/,//:" \ Lamp
/!/'!! ' \//ii1 s ...
Q:1 0 OFI
Light op Con
Prizes given I y
every 15 minutes
during WDZD ?_ ?
remote Saturday I I
/1 am-1 pm I I
? Coastal Plaza Hwy. 17
CK BEACON. Thursday. November 21. 1985?Page 7-A
u ?f *
1 J j 11
MAM PHOtOHY MIUN USMI R
tly In u talk about life behind bars and the lifestyle
Don Gates, crime prevention officer for the
Irunswiek County Sheriff's Department, Is cncouruxinK
ndividual teachers, schools and other youth proKrnms to
>ook the hunutes for appearances. Youngsters at
iludlotte Middle School and Waccamaw elementary
Ichool have had plenty of (piestions for Itoitoskl and his
ounterparts. "It's worked very well," Gates said. "I
IODO WO CJII1 Hot nlltl'r Ul?hiu?1il inlnroutiwl Ir* lntiUln.>
n-. ?.KVUVUUI M.VV?t,HVU III inviting
( ates said the program is Intended to give young peo>le
a realistic glimpse at life behind bars and the
ifestyles ttuit can lead litem there, and practical advice
in how to avoid making the same mistakes.
As Hogoski advised his student audience' "Messing
with drugs sooner or later will get you in trouble. It got
ine. You urc more of a man or a lady to say. 'No, 1 don't
need thut stuff.'
"I>eurn to say no."
I* v " . .
O up to
F 50% OFF
cept Art Gallery will be
SAMi AS CASH?W6TAMT OtEOTT
, Shallotte 754 9495