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Benjamin Franklin High School Announces Prestigious PEO STAR Scholarship Recipient

Image courtesy of Benjamin Franklin High School.

NEW ORLEANS — Benjamin Franklin High School, in partnership with the Philanthropic Educational Organization, or PEO, is pleased to share that Ava Wilkes ’21 was awarded the $2,500 PEO STAR Scholarship.

The PEO STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide scholarships for exceptional high school senior women to attend an accredited post-secondary educational institution in the U.S. or Canada in the next academic year. The competitive STAR Scholarship is for women who exhibit excellence in leadership, academics, extracurricular activities, community service, and potential for future success.

Due to COVID restrictions, Wilkes couldn’t receive the honor at BFHS graduation, but the PEO and BFHS administration celebrated her accomplishment with a small ceremony at the school on Aug. 7.

Wilkes, a National Merit Finalist and a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate, also was the school’s Student of the Year and a state Student of the Year finalist. In addition to playing soccer and tennis, she served on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and as a volunteer tutor and homeroom representative. She also was a member of the DoSomething Club and the National Honor Society. A straight-A student who took a full load of AP classes senior year, Wilkes speaks both French and Chinese and made a perfect 36 on her ACT. She will be attending Washington and Lee University this fall.

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

About Philanthropic Educational Organization
Philanthropic Educational Organization has been celebrating women helping women reach for the stars for more than 150 years. Since its inception in 1869, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 116,000 women pursue educational goals by providing more than $383 million in grants, scholarships, awards, and loans. The Sisterhood also owns and supports Cottey College. Through membership, the PEO Sisterhood has brought together more than half a million women in the U.S. and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education while supporting and motivating them. In addition to the educational philanthropies, the PEO Sisterhood provides a framework of support and community for all members. It started as a bond of friendship among seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and is now one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America with close to 6,000 chapters. To learn more about PEO, please visit