Benjamin Franklin Senior High School
2001 Leon C. Simon Dr.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122
The mission of Benjamin Franklin High School is to prepare students of high academic achievement to be successful in life.
HISTORY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL
Benjamin Franklin High School is named after the great statesman because of what he was and what he did. Often called the first great American, Franklin’s belief in the power of curiosity to fuel creativity and the power of ingenuity to mother invention has been proven by the multitudes of his inventions and the stamp of his political philosophy. The students who attend Benjamin Franklin High School are taught to imitate that same curiosity and creativity and to actualize their own power to think, to invent, and to understand. Benjamin Franklin High School is a great American institution.
Benjamin Franklin High School opened in 1957 with approximately one hundred students in the tenth grade. In subsequent years the eleventh and twelfth grades were added, and in 1960 the first class graduated. The school was originally located at 719 South Carrollton Avenue in the Carrollton Courthouse, a historic New Orleans landmark. The building still stands today and is one of the surviving architectural masterpieces of architect Henry Howard. Later, Franklin added ninth grade students. In March 1990, Franklin moved to its present location on the campus of the University of New Orleans. Its stated mission remains the same—to promote excellence among New Orleans high school students.
THE FRANKLIN TRADITION
From the tradition of trying to create the ideal learning environment, the concept of Benjamin Franklin High School was born. This tradition of seeking excellence is alive and thriving through the students and school community.
Although some Franklin traditions are just memories, many traditions remain the same. Ben Franklin’s statue still stands prominently in the school’s foyer; the Franklin “F” is in our courtyard; and term papers, science fairs, and rigorous learning are all a part of Franklin.
A school is not defined by its traditions necessarily, but the memories of its students. The Franklin tradition is both solid and fluid—honoring the past and recognizing that each person who passes through the school influences and shapes the school’s traditions.
Benjamin Franklin High School is consistently ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and Business Week magazines and has received the highest School Performance Score in Louisiana, making it the #1 public school in the state again this year. Franklin was also recently named a 2009 National Blue Ribbon School. It has also been recognized as the top Advanced Placement testing school in the Southern region of the United States. Franklin serves a population of students with high academic potential.
Compared to high schools across the nation, Franklin produces an outstanding number of National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists. In 2011, Franklin produced 13 National Merit semifinalists, 11 commended and 2 National Hispanic scholars. The average ACT composite score is 28 and SAT score is 1883.
Graduates from Benjamin Franklin High School receive scholarship offers from schools all over the nation and abroad. Graduates of the class of 2009 are attending a variety of schools. Here are a few examples: Baylor University, Boston University, Cornell University, MIT, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Université Paris IV - Paris – Sorbonne, University of Notre Dame, etc.
Benjamin Franklin High School aims to educate the whole child. The school has many varied extra-curricular programs, and Franklin students routinely receive recognition at national, state, and local competitions, such as Tri-Hi-Y, Speech and Debate, and Mu Alpha Theta. Students also excel at regional, state and international science fairs, as well regional and state literary rallies. Franklin writers and artists publish their works in regional publications as well as in the school’s own Riverbend Review, a spectacular literary magazine that regularly wins silver or gold medals in national competition. Student artists may enroll in art programs at multiple levels and, if qualified, in the Talented in Art program at Franklin. Student musicians enjoy a full music program and routinely earn “Superior” ratings at the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association yearly competition. Drama students stage high-quality spring musicals and fall dramatic plays and may also participate, if qualified, in the Talented in Theatre program.
The achievements of Franklin students are not limited to the classroom. The athletic and health programs provide students with an opportunity to participate in sports and health activities. The school has fielded state championship athletic teams (boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ swimming, boys’ and girls’ tennis, and girls’ volleyball), and the school was a contender for an award to be given to the most athletic school in the state. Franklin athletes maintain high academic averages while excelling on the field.
Over 30 clubs and organizations are available to Franklin students as well as positions on Student Council and the staffs of the literary magazine, the newspaper and the yearbook. Because of the school’s strong focus on service learning, Franklin students are actively involved in community and school projects.
THE FRANKLIN COMMUNITY
The Faculty, Staff and Administration of Franklin believe that everyone must be committed to the health and growth of our community. This belief was dramatically tested in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The whole community came together to save this incredible school for its present and future students. That was no easy task. It happened because of strong leadership, strong backs, and strong spirits. It happened because this school is loved. People gave because this school is important to children’s lives. It happened because the community recognizes that what we give to children is what matters most.
The best acknowledgement Franklin can give to the community that supported us is to continue to be one of the best schools in the country; to continue to nurture some of the best minds and hearts; to continue to model selfless behavior; and to continue to stand as a symbol of hope and joy to the entire New Orleans community. Benjamin Franklin High School is and will be one of the reasons that New Orleans really matters. The students it educates, the parents with whom it partners, and the leadership it nourishes will all have lasting impact on the country as a whole, as will New Orleans itself.