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Generations connect: Elementary school students celebrate Conejo Valley residents who've reached 100

Gene Smith and Betty Ullman read cards made by a Westlake Village elementary school class which celebrate the fact they are both around the century mark in age.

Kids made greeting cards for some Thousand Oaks centenarians.

This is a story involving an unlikely meeting, and some even more unexpected new friends.

Nine year-old Miles Kudlacek is delivering some handmade greeting cards to some residents of University Village, a Thousand Oaks retirement community. The three people getting the cards are people who’ve reached a milestone that’s hard for most kids, and even many adults to grasp:

"How do I feel at 100? Well, I look at myself in the mirror, and I say no, they made a mistake on your birth certificate," joked Jean Kornbluth. She's right in not feeling like she’s 100. She’s actually 101, but you’d never guess it.

She’s here with Gene Smith and Betty Ullman, who are also at the huge age milestone. As they look at the handmade greeting cards, Miles explains his idea which led to the project by his second grade class at Westlake Elementary School.

 "My great-grandfather was in the newspaper for being close to 100 years old," said the boy. "I had an idea to make cards for the people here, and I asked my teacher, and she said it would be perfect for the 100th day of school."

He talks about what he put in his handmade card for the three members of the century club.

"I said have a great day...we're celebrating our 100th day of school." 

Jessica Kudlacek is the boy's mother. "Miles and I created a lesson for the class, a presentation activity," said Kudlacek. "There is a disconnect, and creating opportunities to bridge that is important, and what we tried to do in this project."

100 year old Gene Smith reads one of the cards he received. "Centenarians is when you are a hundred, or above. Have fun," said Smith. "We have been having fun so far!"

Kornbluth has a little advice for the kids.

"To live a good life, you have to treat people like you would be treated, and I think that's very important," said Kornbluth.

But, she said she can't take credit for living so long. She said it's genetic.

"I had wonderful parents who both lived till 99. And, in those days, it was a long time. So, I can't give myself the credit. It's really in the genes," said Kornbluth.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.