Rose Gilbert, 94, knew in the first grade, inspired by her teacher, that she wanted to teach. She taught for 63-year, before retiring from the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“I’m going to be 95. I looked in the mirror and said, ‘I better do it now before I get too old,'” she joked. “I didn’t want to leave, but I didn’t want to be carried out on a stretcher.”
Gilbert began as a teacher in the 1940’s and retired in February 2013. So, took a break sometime between 1940’s and 1956.
“She is utterly unique,” said English teacher Holly Korbonski, who had Gilbert as her English teacher in 1978. “We’re all sort of bereft, honestly.”
Korbonski remembers how Gilbert made a customized reading list for each of her students. She was assigned to read “The Great Gatsby,” among other works.
“She was prophetic,” Korbonski said. “Her gifts to students continue to grow and magnify through life.”
In 1961, she was hired at a brand-new school in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles and remained there until she retired.
Gilbert has put a lot of her money back into education. In addition to funding scholarships for high school and college students, she has donated an auditorium, pool complex, and a small theater to the high school.