GNO Collaborative Teachers

Benjamin Franklin High School Announces Student of the Year Finalist

Date: March 22nd, 2021
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NEW ORLEANS (March 22, 2021) – Benjamin Franklin High School is delighted to announce that Ava Wilkes ’21 is a finalist for the Louisiana High School Student of the Year.
The award honors students in the state who show leadership, good citizenship, and high academic achievement.
Wilkes, a National Merit Finalist and a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate, certainly fits the bill. In addition to playing soccer and tennis, she serves on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and as a volunteer tutor and homeroom representative.  She also is a member of the DoSomething Club and the National Honor Society. A straight-A student taking a full load of AP classes, Wilkes speaks both French and Chinese and made a perfect 36 on her ACT.
 “Ava is great,” said Dr. Michael Tabony ’00, who teaches Wilkes’ AP biology class. “She’s always engaged in class and takes a very active role helping her peers understand what they’re working on. I’m sure she could succeed at anything she put her mind to, but I think she could be a great teacher someday if she chose to be.”

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A state selection committee will conduct interviews and review a writing sample from each of the finalists before selecting a winner for each grade level (students are eligible in grades 5, 8, and 12). All of the finalists will then participate in a virtual ceremony on April 21 where the winners will be announced. NOLA Public Schools will honor its local finalists at an event on April 22.  “I am so honored to represent Ben Franklin as a Student of the Year finalist,” Wilkes said.  “This could not have been possible without the encouraging environment I found at Franklin. Teachers and students alike are constantly sharing new opportunities of learning and discovery, and the school celebrates student successes together. I am excited to see how Franklin continues to give each and every student the support and autonomy to pursue their passions and create their own opportunities in the future.”
For more information, please contact Eve Peyton at (504) 503-0062 or

About Benjamin Franklin High School
Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans’ most outstanding public charter school, has been preparing students for success through academic achievement since its founding in 1957. Consistently ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and Business Week, Franklin has received the highest School Performance School in Louisiana, making it the No. 1 public school in the state, year after year. Ben Franklin is repeatedly named a National Blue Ribbon School, producing  Presidential and National Merit Scholars each year. The exceptional students, faculty, and staff at Ben Franklin are the best and the brightest in New Orleans.  For more information, please visit

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