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Ben Franklin High School Announces Eight U.S. Presidential Scholars Candidates

NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 29, 2021) – Benjamin Franklin High School is pleased to share that the following eight seniors have been named U.S. Presidential Scholars Program candidates: James Holliday ’21, Angelina Jorgenson ’21, Audrey Mann ’21, Zoe Marquis ’21, Grace Tran ’21, Tony Tran ’21, Ava Wilkes ’21, and Derek Witzig ’21.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by executive order of the president to recognize and honor our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts.

With eight students selected, Ben Franklin has the highest number of Presidential Scholar candidates in the state of Louisiana.
“In times when everything seems uncertain, it’s inspiring to know that we can consistently count on our students to do exceptional work that earns them recognition at the national level,” said Dr. Patrick Widhalm, head of school. “We’re so proud of all of our students and their families and teachers for their perseverance and commitment to excellence.”  

Students chosen for the program will be announced in May. Those selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars will receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June and will be presented the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House in commemoration of their achievements. For more information or high-res images of the students, please contact Eve Peyton at (504) 503-0062 or

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