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Matt Suoja: Laura Bellamy: The leader of the Hunter pack

On Wednesday, senior Laura Bellamy, who competes in hockey (goalie) for the Duluth Northern Stars high school team and softball (pitcher) at Denfeld, told me some news that would make any parent, or anyone who knows her, proud.

On Wednesday, senior Laura Bellamy, who competes in hockey (goalie) for the Duluth Northern Stars high school team and softball (pitcher) at Denfeld, told me some news that would make any parent, or anyone who knows her, proud.

She committed to play hockey at Harvard -- maybe the most prestigious school on the planet.

Not bad for a 17-year-old from Duluth who said she is thinking about studying medicine.

She also learned Wednesday that she is one of the 12 finalists for the 2008 Wendy's High School Heisman Award.

Close to 34,000 students applied for the award. Those were narrowed down to 8,950 school winners and then two winners from each state.

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The award is given to those who have shown strong abilities in the athletic, academic and community service arenas.

Bellamy is a Junior Rotarian and president of the Denfeld National Honor Society.

Denfeld received a $2,000 gift after Bellamy won the award.

A larger prize, however, looms.

Wendy's will donate $10,000 to each (one male and one female) national winner's school.

All of the finalists will travel to New York City, Dec. 12-14, for the Heisman ceremony and to find out if they are the big winners.

Bellamy is still pretty humble.

"Laura deserves the award for her athletic ability, her academics prowess, her activities in and for Denfeld High School and community, and her 'aw-shucks' attitude about the glory she receives," said Denfeld softball coach Richard Swanson. "She could spend her time talking about her feats, but she is always looking ahead at the next mountain to climb and next team to defeat ... to show any conceit. She is a person of high character who plays games hard but fairly."

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When asked about what she wrote in an essay during the application process for the award, she said this: "On the application, I just wrote about who I was and I guess they liked that -- what I stand for."

This is a good message to send out to kids -- or adults.

Many times in society, people judge each other on how good a person is at something.

This shouldn't be the case.

A person's greatness isn't found on the athletic field or what someone writes down.

It's found in their actions and how they treat other people.

"Her future is whatever she wants it to be," said Amber Fryklund, co-head coach for the Duluth Northern Stars girls high school hockey team. "She will be going to Harvard to play hockey and study. What a great opportunity for her to broaden her horizons. She will excel at whatever she does!"

Matt Suoja is a reporter with the Duluth Budgeteer News. E-mail him at msuoja@duluthbudgeteer.com or call 723-1207.

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