"I've been really fortunate with the things I've done," Megan Follows commented recently.

That may be a bit of an understatement when it comes to her role as spunky Anne Shirley, the carrot-topped orphan who is the title heroine of Lucy Maude Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series. For that one, Megan Follows may be remembered for generations by youngsters whose parents assemble a video library the way grandparents accumulated classic storybooks.

This week, she gets something different, the part of a Jewish girl who becomes involved in protests over a Christmas creche located on the grounds of a public school. The story considers the constitutional guarantee separating church and state and the problems that develop between teen-agers of different religions during a religious holiday season.

Her co-stars on the show, an ABC Afterschool Special called "Seasonal Differences" (Wednesday on Channel 13, Friday on 7), are veteran actress Uta Hagen as her grandmother, who escaped from a Nazi concentration camp; Melba Moore as Ms. Varady, a government teacher who makes certain that her students understand the Constitutional question, and Tim Owen as her boyfriend.

Follows' credits thus far are formidable for one so young -- she's only 19. Critics waxed rhapsodic over the "Anne" series, which co-starred Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth and ran in February 1986 on PBS stations. Airing as the first miniseries on "WonderWorks," "Anne of Green Gables" won the Emmy as best children's series of 1986. Even the sequel, "Anne of Avonlea," which combined several of Montgomery's later books in the series, was highly praised when it aired last May on The Disney Channel.

Canadian readers, for whom Anne Shirley was a heroine, applauded their young countrywoman and approved of the first-ever filming of the beloved books.

But Follows, who was 15 when she auditioned for the part, said she isn't worried that the "Anne" series will be the epitome of her career.

"I find that in this business people tend to remember you for the last thing you've done," she said. "I received hundreds and hundreds of letters {after she appeared in "Green Gables"} and people have really recognized and acknowledged the work I have done and that I did a really good job."

In "Seasonal Differences," Follows' character, Dana Sherman, joins a protest to have a nativity scene removed from school grounds during the Christmas-Hanukah season. The story, based on an event that occurred in Scarsdale, N.Y., focuses on anti-Semitism during the holiday period.

"My character's Jewish," explained Follows, "my boyfriend's Christian. I join the protest against his wishes with friends of mine -- some of the kids are Jewish, some are not. We win and the nativity gets taken down. It gets a lot of people upset, including my boyfriend. His parents have recently split, and his father used to take him to the nativity scene. He really misses it. He thinks it's not hurting anybody.

"But they start to take down all the signs of Christmas, and people really get hyped up and get really angry and neo-Nazi. Fights break out and the swastika is painted on my house and it turns really ugly. The boyfriend didn't want the fighting to start happening. In the end, he and his girlfriend come together to try to find an appropriate way to deal with this ... it's sort of a happy ending for some, but not all."

The daughter of Canadian actors Ted Follows and Dawn Greenhaigh, Megan Follows grew up in Toronto (where much of "Anne of Green Gables" was shot) with an older brother and two older sisters. She was 11 when she appeared in "Clare's Wish" on Canadian television, then went on to do commercials and guest roles and to make "Boys and Girls," which won the 1984 Canadian version of the Oscar, and "Hockey Night" for Canadian television.

In 1983, she moved to Southern California, guested on NBC's "Facts of Life" and made her first movie, Stephen King's "Silver Bullet." She was cast in a short-lived series with Martin Mull called "Domestic Life," which she said CBS moved around until "it just disappeared." She appeared with Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckenbill in an ABC movie called "Mating Season," and with Dermot Mulroney as stepbrother and stepsister who become romantically entangled in another TV movie, "Sin of Innocence."

The low-budget "Anne of Green Gables" was both a visual and dramatic delight, she said, but "a hard shoot. We shot the first one in nine weeks and the second one a couple of weeks more. We were shooting 14 hours a day. And at the end of the sequel, I was finishing 'Destiny.'"

"Destiny," a theatrical movie about a Basque family starring William Hurt and Timothy Hutton, "takes place in the '40s," she said. "It's about revenge."

Since then Follows has made "Stacking" with Frederick Forrest and Christine Lahti. Set in Montana and produced by Robert Redford's Sundance production company, the film is "about the process of growing up." Currently, she is involved in a remake of "Inherit the Wind" for NBC starring Kirk Douglas, Jason Robards, Darrin McGavin and Jean Simmons. The production completes filming next week.

Having lived in Los Angeles for four years, Follows said recently that "I'm planning to move to New York .... I'm out here by myself. My family is between Toronto and New York City."

Her brother Laurence is a fourth-year drama student at Juilliard, and her sisters are in Toronto, Samantha in a stage play and Edwina writing a television series. "I think we're all taking different paths -- my sister is definitely a very talented writer; my brother's training for the classics ... I'd like to do some theater and I feel like I'd like a change. I find it a very lonely place if you don't have family."

Especially at the holiday season.