In recognition of the 60th anniversary of Our Lady of Refuge School, approximately 600 people — including current and former students, parents, faculty and clergy — gathered together Sept. 28 to reminisce, share memories, and celebrate the Long Beach campus.The evening celebration began in Our Lady of Refuge Church with pastor emeritus Msgr. Bill O’Keeffe, current pastor Father Ray Morales, former OLR student and alum Father Chris Cartwright and Father Francis Kelly concelebrating Mass. Following the Mass, OLR school graduates from the 1950s through the 1990s filled the school cafeteria, hall and the patio. In addition, current OLR principal Tricia Holmquist was on hand for the festivities, joined by three former principals: Mary Enos, Carolyn Horeczko, and 102-year-old St. Louis Sister Elizabeth Gildea, who was the school’s first principal (then referred to as Mother Callista) in 1953.Celebration participants were treated to food, fun and live music by the Elm Street Band, as well as a performance by second-generation OLR alum Lauren Gregory (her mother, Janis Krantz, graduated from OLR in 1962). Guests also had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and tour the school’s 21st century classrooms, which are equipped with projectors, document cameras and iPads.According to Krantz, the event was much more than just an anniversary celebration; it also “proved to be a true homecoming — a family sharing its stories and connecting across generations.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1115/sprefuge/{/gallery}Serra High students visit Junipero Serra exhibit at Huntington LibraryDuring a recent field trip to Huntington Library in San Marino, 40 students from Junípero Serra High School in Gardena were awed by the numerous and diverse artifacts on display as part of the “Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions” exhibit, which depicted both the everyday and remarkable aspects of their school’s legendary namesake.“He writes so neatly!” was a common, albeit surprising, refrain among the students as they browsed through the displays of original letters, paintings, maps and other items associated with the late missionary. According to the Serra High students, the diverse artifacts captured a broad view of Father Serra: from a man of great faith and determination, to a leader who focused on bringing native populations into the missions, where some unfortunately met an untimely end due to disease.Back on campus following the Huntington Library excursion — and once again surrounded by the school’s paintings and statues of Father Serra — students expressed an increased appreciation for the life and works of Junípero Serra.“Now that I know how much work he put into creating the missions, I’ll never look at those sandals the same again,” said sophomore DeeAnna Segee. In other school news, Darian Williams, a freshman last year at Serra, won third place in the art competition of The Holy Land Democracy Project (HLDP). His artistic portrayal of the Holy Land evoked the experience of the HLDP teachers who visited Jerusalem, returned, and told the students involved in the project about their experience. This is the second time a Serra student has won an award for this competition. HDLP brings Israel education to charter, private and religious schools throughout Southern and Central California. For the last ten years HLDP has taken more than 50 teachers from more than 100 schools to Israel. HLDP was launched in 2003 primarily through a partnership between the Jewish Federation and Catholic schools in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties. To learn more about HLDP and how to get involved, contact Rabbi Hal Greenwald at [email protected] or (323) 761-8150.