Former one-room school student Gilbert Laverne Ingraham of Haverhill, Iowa is celebrating his 100th birthday. A party is being thrown for him in the nearby town of Laurel on Saturday, January 22, 2012 to honor him and his lifetime of memories and achievements.
In May 2010, at the age 98, Gilbert was interviewed by filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle for their documentary Country School: One Room - One Nation in Marshalltown, Iowa's Taylor #4. Gilbert took his place along with Schoolmarm Julie Jontz Lang in a room filled with students, grades 1-8, dressed in period-clothing for the film. Among his favorite reflections were the long walks to and from school with friends--a brief opportunity to socialize and explore nature.
When asked if he had ever been disciplined by the teacher, "That was usually the bigger boys... You believe that, don't you?" he said with a grin.
In February 2011, a special reception honoring Gilbert was hosted by the Historical Society of Marshall County at the Taylor #4 schoolhouse, followed by a screening of the film at the restored Orpheum Theatre Center. The sold-out event drew Gilbert's family and friends, as well as former one-room school students and teachers from around the area.
The Rundles sent a special message which will be read to Gilbert at his 100th birthday celebration: