In the busy hallways of Benjamin Franklin High School, somehow 17-year-old Brenna Robinson manages to stand out.
Despite a tough schedule packed with Advanced Proficient (AP) classes like AP Environmental Science, AP English and AP Physics, Robinson maintains straight As. She’s well-liked by faculty such as physics teacher Grant Gussman, who has had the senior in three classes in her four years at BFHS.
“Brenna’s fantastic. She’s been an all-star student in all three of those classes. She’s also active in just about everything at the school,” Gussman said.
Robinson is also a starter on the varsity basketball team, and when she’s not studying or practicing, she’s also volunteering with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.
Even with a stellar resume so early in life, the teenager remains humble—talking about her accomplishments makes Robinson a little uncomfortable. During an interview with WWL-TV reporter Kristin Pierce, the senior couldn’t contain herself when asked about her accomplishments.
“How is it that you manage to get really, really great grades, volunteer so much of your time and play basketball,” Pierce asked.
“Umm…” Robinson replied.
“Did I embarrass you already,” Pierce asked.
“Yea,” Robinson said, with nervous laughter.
After some giggling, the teenager’s answer was time management. In reality, it’s about much more than that.
“I think for me it’s about making other people’s lives better. It’s not a very fair world and anything I can do to make somebody’s day better, that’s what I want to do,” Robinson said.
It’s something she’s been working on for years. Robinson is a senior in high school but her volunteer work started when she was in the 6th grade at the SPCA.
The Robinson family already has two dogs of their own yet they still foster—taking dogs and cats into their house and caring for them until those animals find their “fur-ever” homes.
When Robinson isn’t busy with animals, she’s getting her hands dirty with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, where she’s not just a volunteer; she’s the president.
The organization helps reduce blight by rebuilding damaged homes. The finished houses are then sold to local teachers to try to stabilize the neighborhood. That’s what she’s doing most weekends and said helping others just feels right.
“There’s a lot of inequality, racism, sexism and discrimination in the world and I don’t want to be part of the problem,” Robinson said.
Robinson makes sure to be a part of the solution. When asked where she gets that mentality from, she credited her parents.
Here dad, Cliff Robinson, agrees.
“Hopefully some of that came from us but I think some of it is just the person that she is,” Robinson said.
“She’s got a big heart and she’s really a terrific person. She doesn’t focus on herself and her accomplishments but is really trying to think about how can she help and how can she make the people around her better,” he said.
Robinson said she doesn’t plan on changing her schedule any time soon.
To be so involved yet truly humble at just 17-years-old Robinson surely is one of WWL-TV’s Neighborhood Heroes.