(ANDOVER, Massachusetts) – Following another challenging year that instilled in teachers and students alike a newfound sense of resiliency, the family of Colleen Ritzer, Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura, announced the 2021 recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in education. The recipients of this scholarship will strive to carry on Colleen’s legacy as a caring and compassionate teacher. In addition, “Inspire Kindness” scholarships were also awarded to students, one in honor of Andover’s Brian Feeney, who exemplified kindness in action and deed, and caring through his selfless work throughout the community.
This year, the Ritzer family awarded over $63,000 in scholarships in Colleen’s name, including $22,000 to 2021 graduating seniors and over $41,000 to previous years’ recipients. Since its inception in 2014, over $370,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 82 future teachers and leaders, some of whom have already begun their teaching careers and are pursuing master’s degrees.
“With over 80 current and future teachers and leaders following in Colleen’s footsteps, we are in awe of the continued impact of Colleen’s legacy and the influence she continues to have on so many current and aspiring teachers and those committed to community service,” said the Ritzer family. “It gives us hope of the good in this world as we witness these former students begin their teaching careers. We are honored they have allowed us to follow their progress.”
“This year we lost our dear friend Brian Feeney, the team leader of ‘Team Helpers’ from Century Bank for the 5k held each year in Colleen’s memory,” added the Ritzer’s. “Brian was a steadfast supporter of our family and the Step Up for Colleen and he shared so many qualities similar to those of Colleen. It is an honor to award a scholarship in his memory this year. Each of the recipients are caring individuals who demonstrate passion for their chosen profession, just as Colleen did.”
This year’s recipients from Andover and Danvers High Schools demonstrate a strong will for serving others and are excited to begin their journey towards their own classroom. Each recipient exhibited tremendous promise through their high school endeavors from National Honor Societies to participating in extracurricular activities and community service such peer mentoring and not only playing, but coaching and mentoring the athletes, in the sports they love.
The 2021 Scholarship recipients from Andover include Paige Gillette, Kaelyn Grava, Ashley Kendrigan, Alexandra Papazian and Madilyn Serapiglia. The Scholarship recipients from Danvers are Jared King, Jenna Lowd and Liana O’Brien. The 2021 Inspire Kindness recipients are Navya Pandya of Andover and Ashely DeRocco of Danvers. The recipient of the Inspire Kindness Scholarship in Memory of Brian Feeney is Benjamin Miragliotta of Andover.
Learn more about each of this year’s recipients here.
The Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Fund, Inc. is supported by donations made in the wake of Colleen’s passing in October 2013 as well as the Step Up for Colleen 5K Walk/Run and other tribute events held to honor Colleen’s life and legacy. The Scholarship is a permanent tribute to Colleen and builds upon her legacy by helping future teachers obtain a college degree so that they, too, can share their passion for teaching with future students.