Beck of Chicago was selected to receive the Franklin H. Williams Award,
which recognizes the outstanding community service of African Americans
who have served as Peace Corps volunteers.
Teacher Who Won't Quit
Catherine Beck decided after 30 years of teaching in the Chicago Public
School system that she wanted to see the world. Inspired by her mother
and Miss Lillian Carter, who became a Peace Corps Volunteer in her late
sixties, Ms. Beck joined the Peace Corps at the age of 61 and left for
Sierra Leone in 1989. Her two years of teaching school children in this
African nation had such an impact on her that she signed up once more.
This time, at age 66, she used her altruism and love of learning to serve
another two years as a teacher in the eastern Caribbean nation of Grenada.
During both overseas assignments, her 30 years of experience as an educator
proved to be invaluable. She consulted in curriculum development, lesson
plan creation, and teaching techniques. Ms. Beck has been an inspiration
to many people in her lifetime and is a living example of the saying,
"Life is what you make it." Ms. Beck inspired thousands of viewers who
tuned in to watch and listen to her amazing stories when she appeared
on a recent CBS morning news show. She has been featured in numerous articles
for her work in international education and most recently the Chicago
Sun Times featured her in an article entitled, "Retirees Shoulder the
Job of Creating a Better World." An alumna of Roosevelt University, Ms.
Beck is a member of various community boards. At the age of 72, Ms. Beck
does not believe that her travel agenda is complete. She has recently
applied to the Peace Corps for her third assignment. She is hoping to
go to South Africa this time.