Eleven-year-old Frankie Foer of Northwest won second prize in the National History Day competition held recently at the University of Maryland. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the keynote speaker, welcomed 1,700 participants from 46 states.

Foer qualified for the national competition by winning the Washington contest in May. He wrote a paper on "Palestine: Crossroads in History -- the Conflicts and Compromises of the Founding of the Modern State of Israel." He won $500, a medal and a certificate.

"The Arab-Israeli conflict is always making headlines, so I decided to go back to its roots," said Foer, a recent graduate and student council president of Murch Elementary School. Jonathan Stoel, also of Murch, was second-prize winner in the Washington contest.

"It took over 100 hours of work -- I started in January," said Foer, who visited the Israeli, Egyptian and Syrian embassies to research his story.

He said that the conflict is particularly discouraging, because "One side wants a sovereign Jewish state, the other wants a sovereign Arab state. Nobody's ever going to be happy until they give up dreams." Harvard Graduate Honor

Washingtonian Katherine Dillon was honored by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design at Harvard's 335th commencement.

Along with her master of architecture degree, Dillon received the Computer Graphics Prize for exhibiting the most imaginative use of computers in design. She also won the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, and will leave Oct. 1 for Cambridge University in England.

"I'll be trying to understand what it means to use a computer creatively in design," Dillon said. Computers have been used extensively in engineering and building production, but Dillon hopes to use graphics to illustrate building plans, in place or in support of drawings and cardboard models.

Dillon graduated from Immaculata College High School in the District and studied architecture at Cornell University. -- Anne Simpson

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