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Ferrari girls win academic races

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Ferrari isn't just the name of winning race car; it's the name of a pair of winning sisters, Kim and Kate. Both girls recently received recognition for their academic efforts, one at Two Harbors High School and one at Holy Rosary in Duluth.

Kim, the younger of the two, participated at the state National History Day in Minnesota competition in the Twin Cities, after qualifying at the regional competition at the University of Minnesota-Duluth from among 400 projects. She was part of a team that also included classmates, John Kroska and Jonathan Sailstad. Their topic: the Treaty of Versailles.

"We were sitting in history talking about the movie Madagascar and the monkey king said he was the King of Versailles," said Kim. As the topic of the National History Day Minnesota competition was "Turning Points in History: People, Ideas and Events," after more conversation in the classroom, "we thought that (the Treaty of Versailles) fit the topic," she added.

The goal of the competition, according to the NHDM website is to encourage students to "conduct in-depth research, use primary and secondary sources, read a variety of texts, analyze and synthe size information and write and present historical content. The students were also asked to choose from among a range of media - research paper, exhibit, documentary, performance, or website -- for the presentation of their topic. Kim and her team chose an exhibit, which involved creating a display board of key facts, quotes and illustrations.

"We spoke to history professors and authors and made our board based on what we found out," said Kim. The judges were impressed and the team earned an honorable mention, a medal and a certificate of participation. Kim said that through the project she learned about history and the pivotal role of President Woodrow Wilson in laying out the terms of the treaty. She also learned another lesson she said will help her in life.

"I think (the competition) helped me to feel confident that if I work hard I can go far."

In the fall Kim will join her sister, Kate at THHS. Kate was a recent winner of a Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce ninth grade scholarship. She was one of a trio of recipients that included Keely Sundstrom and Nick Osbakken.

"It was based on good grades and community activities" she said. Her academic achievements have included participation in National History Day in Minnesota, science fairs and spelling bees, in addition to excellence in the classroom. She volunteers at church and with the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary program of the U.S. Air Force. Kate is not certain if she'll join the Air Force, but sees it as a possible choice for her future. She said her ultimate goal is to become a neuroscientist or neurologist.

With two successful students in the house, is there competition between the girls? Not really, said Kate.

"I'm the older sister. I do stuff first and then help her the next year." In fact Kate was able to offer some direction to Kim for this year's NHDM competition

"I helped by telling her what to look for and who to talk to...that kind of thing." And she said there are some advantages to being the older sibling.

"The best part is getting to do stuff first and getting to have opportunities first. I'll get to drive and graduate before she does," Kate said, but she noted, despite the age difference, she and her sister share some important similarities, including parents who nudge them forward.

"Both of my parents are pretty successful. We've grown up in an academically oriented family, so we're both determined and focused, I guess you could say."

"The girl's mom, Ann Ferrari, sees it this way: "We strongly believe that for our kids to understand success, we must encourage them and provide them with opportunities to succeed. It's important for our daughters to know that they have the gift to dream, they also have the power to make their dreams come true. However, they may have to work for it!"