Paraclete High School in Lancaster celebrated a half-century of providing excellence in education Sept. 28 in the Godde gymnasium. The entire student body along with faculty and staff members joined together with alumni, guests and parents attending the 50th anniversary mid-morning Mass. San Fernando Region Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson presided at the liturgy. Concelebrants included four former Paraclete principals: Our Lady of the Angels Region Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark (1980-82), Msgr. James Colberg (1971-74), Msgr. Doug Saunders (1974-80) and Father William Caffrey (1987-99). Other past principals attending were Shelia Vaughan (1964-68) and Martha Serrano (1999-2001).Also present were Father Tim Klosterman (graduate, 1997); three area pastors, Father Tom Baker (Sacred Heart), Father Vaughn Winters (St. Mary) and St. Joseph Father Leo Dechant (Blessed Junípero Serra); Fathers Eben MacDonald, Roberto Landa, Giuseppe Rainone and Giampietro Gasparin; and Deacons Robert Seidler and Ron Routolo. It was standing-room-only inside the school’s gymnasium for the solemn yet joyful liturgy that concluded with the awarding of Paraclete hats and pins to the honored guests. Eight and fourth grade classes from Sacred Heart and Saint Mary’s school along with their principals, parents and teachers also attended the celebration.During his homily, Bishop Wilkerson praised Paraclete for its past 50 years of commitment to Catholic education and wished the school continued success for the next 50 years. A reception was hosted in the St. Joseph’s multi-purpose building for honored guests and parents. Many of the attendees enjoyed tours of the campus given by the Paraclete Student Ambassadors. Paraclete High School held its first classes in September of 1963 with 41 students and three faculty members on the grounds of the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. One year later, Immaculate Heart Sister Sheila Marie would welcome freshmen and sophomores to new classrooms on the current property. By 1965, enrollment had increased to 240 students in grades 9-11. Over the past 50 years, the school has thrived and expanded its current enrollment to well over 700 students with 42 teachers. During this golden anniversary year, officials said, visitors are encouraged to drop by and witness the spirit of Paraclete (whose nickname, appropriately, is the Spirits).{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1005/sfparaclete/{/gallery}