To support educational projects and spiritual and cross-cultural connections in the United States and Latin America.
In 1984, the photograph of a teenager from New Mexico was carefully hung on the blackboard of a two-room rural school in Costa Rica. It was Christmas. Excited children had come to receive presents—toys and clothing—from a Christmas Caravan organized by a Costa Rican journalist. It had been an especially hard year for this village on the slopes of Turrialba Volcano, some 2 1/2 hours east of the capital of San José.
It seemed doubtful that this small primary school in Colonia de Guayabo would be able to offer classes in February when the new school year should begin. There was no money to buy textbooks, which parents must provide. An unexpected Christmas gift came that day from the family and friends of the young man in the photograph, Curt Thomas Sheck, who had died earlier that year in a car accident. Learning of the village’s needs through the journalist who organized the Caravan, a family friend, they donated books and sports equipment. The school opened on schedule, and the seed of the Curt Thomas Sheck Foundation was planted.
The foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has existed informally since 1984. From then until its incorporation in the State of New Mexico on Aug. 10, 2004, the foundation focused on scholarships to a high school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on donations to small rural primary schools in Costa Rica, Central America. Costa Rica was chosen because of connections of the foundation founders, Curt’s parents and sister, with that country since 1968. Its focus is on improving opportunities for others, especially young people.
Board of Directors
Ree Strange Sheck, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Colonia de Guayabo, Costa Rica, President
Claren Sheck-Boehler, Holland, Ohio, Vice President
Ronald Sheck, Sylvania, Ohio
Ruth Hamilton, Irving, Texas, Secretary
Virgil Strange, Denton, Texas, Treasurer
John Porter, Wilsonville, Oregon
Shirley Easton, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Curt Thomas Sheck: Dec. 2, 1969 - Feb.17, 1984
Curt was a 14-year-old student at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he died in 1984. He had moved to Santa Fe in 1983 with his parents, Ron Sheck and Ree Strange Sheck, and his older sister, Claren, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the family had lived since 1972. He had lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe, was studying Spanish and already had found delight in learning about other cultures.
He loved playing sports: football, soccer, basketball. Curt liked to draw and to laugh and to read. He was enthusiastic, unpredictable, adventurous and determined. Having grown up surrounded by love, he knew how to love back. He had good friends and was a good friend. After his death, one of them wrote: “Curt had many gifts, but his greatest gift was to make people happy.”
Those of us who shared his life were lucky enough to sometimes see the world through his eyes, and it was never dull.
The last book Curt read was The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, the final book in The Chronicles of Narnia. A quote from that book is on his gravestone in Santa Fe:
Beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.