HAMBURG, N.Y. — Age may just be a number.
"We tried to gather 112 kids to represent how old (Catherine Abate) is," said Tracy Schosek, a teacher's aide at Orchard Park Middle School.
However, when that number is one you've never heard before, it's worth celebrating.
"I have not," said eighth grader Izzy Trinci.
"No. Never," said seventh grader Molly Hull. "I'm saying happy birthday. I hope you have the best 112th birthday ever. It's cool knowing someone that's 100 years older than me."
So students at Orchard Park Middle school took a break out of their normal school day to create a surprise for Catherine Abate.
"It's crazy seeing how many people really care about this," Hull said.
It was all to help create cards for Abate, after Elderwood Assisted Living Facility in Hamburg asked the community to help her surprise Abate with 112 cards for the big day.
Schosek needed to get the kids involved. She brought the cards over on Monday.
"The kids that colored all these cards are 12 years old," Schosek told Abate.
"You didn't have to go through all of this," Abate said.
Even with those 112 messages, plus another 1,200 from the community and even a 'happy birthday' sung by Union Pleasant Elementary students, there was really only one gift Abate wants.
"I wish I could live until next Christmas, the next birthday," Abate said.
Age may just be another number.
"Here she is 112 and she's still out and still happy," Schosek said. "(Abate) is such a great example for (the kids) to see how much time we have. We keep telling them to slow down, enjoy life."
However, it's lessons we can all learn from our elders reminding us that every number counts.