Celebrating 25 years in Service to New Orleans Students

FirstLine Schools is celebrating 25 years of service to New Orleans children and families. On the evening of Friday, October 20, 2023, we marked this milestone with a party at Langston Hughes Academy in true New Orleans style: with good food, good music, and good friends. The FirstLine spirit flowed through the evening, as old and new friends shared memories of FirstLine’s trailblazing role as creator of the city’s first open-admissions charter school. 

DJ Spin Griffey set the tone with lively tunes while the crowd enjoyed great food from Rommel’s Catering. CEO Sabrina Pence thanked all who helped make FirstLine the organization it is today – from our founders, Jay Altman and Dr. Tony Recasner, to current and former staff, partner organizations, funders, volunteers, and friends. Award-winning rapper, educator, and activist Dee-1 got the crowd up and dancing – this after reading his children’s book featuring an anti-bullying message to our second graders earlier that afternoon. The One Shot Brass Band rounded out the evening with New Orleans favorites, and the beautifully costumed Zulu Tramps made a surprise appearance, dancing their way through the crowd, revving up the energy even as the party was winding down. 

One long-time supporter said, “Wow. Best party ever. Can’t wait for the 50th!”

All of us at FirstLine offer our sincere thanks for your support and friendship in our first 25 years and the five years before that when we operated as an Orleans Parish public middle school before receiving our first charter. Our results reflect over a quarter century of community commitment to create and inspire great open-admissions schools in New Orleans. Thank you for helping make this vision a reality.