Teacher's Big Donation Will Revamp Pali High Theater

English teacher Rose Gilbert announced the $1 million donation earlier this summer to reconstruct Mercer Hall and the B-101 building.

The refurbishment of two buildings to breathe new life into its theater space comes in the form of a donation from one of its eldest and most experienced teachers.

Advanced Placement English teacher Rose Gilbert, 94, made a $1 million donation earlier this summer to reconstruct Mercer Hall and the B-101 building on campus. They will be made into brand new theater halls. On Thursday, Gilbert said she's happy it's been approved, and said whatever remaining costs come from construction will be picked up by the school district and the state.

"It will benefit the whole community, not only Pali High," she said. "That's what's important. The whole community will use the theater at times."

Gilbert's been teaching English at Pali High since 1960, including rural and contemporary literature. Her late husband Sam built 14 buildings on the Pali High campus as well.

"We have really great facilities here," she added.

Prior to coming to Palisades, Gilbert taught at in West L.A. Gilbert, a UCLA alum, is a strong donor to its programs and scholarships. Gilbert's late daughter Margaret, a UCLA alum as well who passed away in 2004, motivated by her to create something in her daughter's name at the university.

"So I thought, my coffin won't have any pockets," she said jokingly about her continued generosity in Palisades.

"I love the kids," Gilbert added. "They're stimulating and make me feel young. Every day they have new ideas, even with literature and poetry. They bring new insight."

Patch will update on the construction progress as more information becomes available.

Christine White August 25, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I remember the headlines. Not only did he smuggle in drugs, he laundered money through the casino. Great legacy- she should give the money away! Somehow I'm not impressed.
Laura Tompkins August 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Do your research before you malign a good Palisades family. Ms. Gilbert's generous contribution should be appreciated, not judged. The surviving members are trustees of a trust for which they are required to donate to causes. No matter what happened in the past, it is a very generous donation and I thank her for helping to keep the arts alive. Neither of you, Ted J. or Christine White would have a problem if she were offering you the money. You would take it. Your jealousy is obvious. Thank you Ms. Gilbert for your generous donation! That is the only respectful reaction to her generosity.
Ted J August 25, 2012 at 09:34 PM
And i guess Ms Gilbert got mega rich from teaching school????? Please, the Hypocrisy is sad!!!!!
Ted J August 25, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Government officials report that a year after being forced away from the UCLA Basketball program, Gilbert began laundering money for a known drug runner in a scheme that supposedly made him $36 million. Coincidentally, when federal agents finally had enough evidence to arrest and went to his home on November, 24th 1987 in Pacific Palisades, they learned that he had passed away two days earlier of cancer. LA TIMES!!!!
Laura Tompkins August 27, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I am from Las Vegas. This is normal. It reminds me of Breaking Bad. Perhaps he wanted to take care of his family. The new theatre will be beautiful regardless of where the $ came from.


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