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Nashoba Regional High Graduates Awarded 2016 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarships

nashoba(ANDOVER, Massachusetts)-Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer have announced the 2016 recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to graduating high school seniors who will pursue education as a major in college and carry on Colleen’s legacy as a caring and compassionate teacher. This year, the family will award a total of $32,500 in scholarships, including $13,500 to first-year recipients and $19,000 to previous year’s recipients. Since 2014, $86,500 in college scholarships have been awarded to future teachers.

The 2016 scholarship recipients from Nashoba Regional High School includes Anna Fateiger, Erica Taft and Alicia Torres. Colleen taught at Hale Middle School in Stow after college; the students she taught at Stow are graduating from Nashoba Regional High School. Recipients from Andover include Rachel Drew and Maddy Reppucci. Scholarship recipients from Danvers include Lillie Hodgkins, Kristen McCarthy, Lindsay Richard and Eileen Vandewalle.

The scholarship fund is supported by individual donations made since the scholarship was established in October 2013 as well as the annual Step Up for Colleen 5K and other tribute events held to honor Colleen’s memory. The scholarship fund 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 learning with future students.

“The recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship bear a significant responsibility to carry on Colleen’s legacy as caring and compassionate teachers who are committed to their students’ success, just like our daughter and sister Colleen,” said the Ritzer family. “We are grateful to the many individuals who continue to support the scholarship fund, including the thousands who participate in the annual Step Up for Colleen. Through these students, the scholarship recipients, Colleen will continue to inspire and empower teachers and their students to work tirelessly in pursuit of their dreams.”

Applicants were required to complete an application that requested information such as extra-curricular activities, awards and recognitions and plans for college.  They were also asked to submit a 500-word essay describing why they plan to pursue a degree in education and what or who has inspired them. The last piece of the application encouraged applicants to reflect on words shared by Colleen in her college essay in which she wrote:

            “Teachers have been an inspiration to me ever since I was just a young girl. Starting in pre-school, I knew I loved helping the teachers and would one day want to be just like them. My dream is to become a teacher, one who shapes the minds and lives of children. My goal has always been to become a teacher that will impact students’ lives.”

 

Eligible applicants must be Andover, Danvers or Nashoba Regional High School seniors who plan to pursue a degree in the field of education at an accredited four-year college or university. Guidance counselors encouraged well-rounded students who plan to major in education or a specific subject (i.e. math, science, etc.) with a concentration in education to apply for a competitive scholarship.

Applications that met eligibility requirements were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of family members and educators including: Tom Ritzer, Colleen’s Dad; Peggie Ritzer, Colleen’s Mom; Susan Craig, Colleen’s Aunt; Todd Butterworth and Sarah Giaquinta, Danvers High School Math Teachers; Kimberly Bergey, Andover High School Guidance Counselor; and Kimberly Rocha, Nashoba Regional High School English Teacher.

 

NASHOBA REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Nashoba Regional High School graduate Anna R. Fateiger will attend Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts this fall where she will major in mathematics with a minor in secondary education and statistics. Fateiger participated in a number of extra-curricular activities during high school including: religious education teacher; Drama Club; National Honor Society; Dance Team; Club for a Cause where she raised money for malaria nets in impoverished countries; and volunteered as a counselor in training at a summer camp.

“Whenever I say I am planning on majoring in education, most people’s follow-up question is ‘to teach what?’ and the look on people’s faces when I say that I want to teach high school math is what can only be described as looks of horror mixed with impress,” wrote Fateiger in her essay. “I want to help children and teenagers gain a love for learning and I want to encourage them to dream big and to not hold back. I strive to become a teacher that makes kids want to learn and see their true potential.”

Fateiger was recognized with a number of awards from the dance team and as a recipient of the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship.

Erica Taft will attend Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she will “delve into discovering my passions through means of policy, leadership, education or some combination of the three.”

Taft led a very busy schedule outside of high school. She was a member and President of the National Honors Society; played on the field hockey and lacrosse teams; worked at Kids-A-Lot Daycare; and hiked the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont. She also served as a Celiac Support Group Board Member at Boston Children’s Hospital and led her youth group at her church.

“Ms. Ritzer was one of the best teachers I had ever had,” said Taft in her scholarship essay. “I think of how her smile never faltered, because she was doing what she loved, and I want to find my passion like she did. I like to think that I am carrying on the caring nature Ms. Ritzer instilled in me.”

Taft has received a number of awards including one for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience, Outstanding Contributor towards Sportsmanship, Leadership & Athletic Achievement and an award from the Collings Foundation for demonstrated leadership.

Alica V. Torres will attend Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts where she will major in special education. Throughout high school, Torres engaged in a number of different activities such as caring for a cancer survivor; daycare volunteer; caring for a special needs individual; editor of the student newspaper; member of Best Buddies where she worked with disabled students in her school; and also plays the guitar.

“As someone who wants a similar career, Ms. Ritzer not only served as a teacher and a friend to me but also acted as a role model,” said Torres. “I looked up to her with great admiration, seeing how much she loved her job and the friendships she made with her students. She always had a smile when I walked into her classroom and created an environment that was fun and enjoyable for all of us. To this day, I am so incredibly thankful to have had a teacher, a friend, and an inspiration like Ms. Ritzer. She has not only encouraged me to pursue an educational career, but she continues to remind me to be a good person. Her legacy will stay with me as I start this new chapter in my life and I hope to be making the same impact on my students as she did for me.”

Torres earned Honors her freshman year and High Honors for her remaining years at Nashoba Regional High School.

The Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund is held at the Essex County Community Foundation.

 

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News

Future Teachers Awarded 2016 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarships

Awards Bestowed Upon Graduates of Andover, Danvers and Nashoba Regional High Schools
Who will Pursue Education as their College Major

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Past Recipients to Receive Second, Third Year Scholarships

(ANDOVER, Massachusetts)-Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer have announced the 2016 recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to graduating high school seniors who will pursue education as a major in college and carry on Colleen’s legacy as a caring and compassionate teacher. This year, the family will award a total of $32,500 in scholarships, including $13,500 to first-year recipients and $19,000 to previous year’s recipients. Since 2014, $86,500 in college scholarships have been awarded to future teachers.

The 2016 scholarship recipients from Andover include Rachel Drew and Maddy Reppucci. Scholarship recipients from Danvers include Lillie Hodgkins, Kristen McCarthy, Lindsay Richard and Eileen Vandewalle. The family also awarded scholarships to graduating Nashoba Regional High School seniors Anna Fateiger, Erica Taft and Alicia Torres. Colleen taught at Hale Middle School in Stow after college; the students she taught at Stow are graduating from Nashoba Regional High School.

The scholarship fund is supported by individual donations made since the scholarship was established in October 2013 as well as the annual Step Up for Colleen 5K and other tribute events held to honor Colleen’s memory. The scholarship fund 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 learning with future students.

“The recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship bear a significant responsibility to carry on Colleen’s legacy as caring and compassionate teachers who are committed to their students’ success, just like our daughter and sister Colleen,” said the Ritzer family. “We are grateful to the many individuals who continue to support the scholarship fund, including the thousands who participate in the annual Step Up for Colleen. Through these students, the scholarship recipients, Colleen will continue to inspire and empower teachers and their students to work tirelessly in pursuit of their dreams.”

Applicants were required to complete an application that requested information such as extra-curricular activities, awards and recognitions and plans for college.  They were also asked to submit a 500-word essay describing why they plan to pursue a degree in education and what or who has inspired them. The last piece of the application encouraged applicants to reflect on words shared by Colleen in her college essay in which she wrote:

“Teachers have been an inspiration to me ever since I was just a young girl. Starting in pre-school, I knew I loved helping the teachers and would one day want to be just like them. My dream is to become a teacher, one who shapes the minds and lives of children. My goal has always been to become a teacher that will impact students’ lives.”

Eligible applicants must be Andover, Danvers or Nashoba Regional High School seniors who plan to pursue a degree in the field of education at an accredited four-year college or university. Guidance counselors encouraged well-rounded students who plan to major in education or a specific subject (i.e. math, science, etc.) with a concentration in education to apply for a competitive scholarship.

Applications that met eligibility requirements were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of family members and educators including: Tom Ritzer, Colleen’s Dad; Peggie Ritzer, Colleen’s Mom; Susan Craig, Colleen’s Aunt; Todd Butterworth and Sarah Giaquinta, Danvers High School Math Teachers; Kimberly Bergey, Andover High School Guidance Counselor; and Kimberly Rocha, Nashoba Regional High School English Teacher.

ANDOVER HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Andover resize2Andover High School graduate Rachel Drew will attend Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts this fall where she will pursue a degree in elementary education. During her four years of high school, Drew served in a number of leadership roles such as President of Students to Students Mentoring; volunteer at Lawrence General Hospital; St. Augustine Parish Family Social, leader of programs and volunteers; Andover High Student Ambassador; Cradles to Crayons, member; and competed on the track and field and freshman soccer teams. She also worked at Acting Out! Theatre Company and was a member of the National Honor Society.

“Ever since I was little, I can remember playing ‘school’ with my brothers in front of the large blackboard in our playroom,” explained Drew in her scholarship essay. In her job Rachel teaches children dance. “The joy that I receive every time I get to watch a kid understand a dance move or tackle something they had doubted they could do is the most wonderful feeling. To have parents tell me that I’ve made a difference in their child is irreplaceable. I want to be able to look back on my future career as an educator and know that I made that little girl, in her pink sundress, standing in front of the blackboard, with a messy, slanted alphabet behind her, incredibly proud of the teacher she had always dreamed she could be.”

During high school, Drew was honored with a number of awards. She received high honors each of her four years and was also the recipient of the Excellence in Spanish Conversation and Excellence in Dominant Ideas Awards.

Maddy Reppucci has been accepted to Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts where she will pursue a degree in elementary or special education and join the Army’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) given a strong desire to serve her country. Reppucci’s list of extra-curricular activities is extensive. She was a member of the girls’ volleyball team and served as manager for the boys’ team. Reppucci served as a Special Ed Sports Instructor for Beyond Tops Buddy; Videographer for Warrior Way; cared for her siblings; and worked at Perfectos.

The Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 Coaches Association recognized Reppucci as an All- Conference Player in 2014 and 2015; All-State Player in the same years; and named her to the All-Star team also in 2014 and 2015. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald both named her to the 2015 All Scholastic Team.

“From a young age, I have wanted to become a teacher,” wrote Reppucci in her scholarship essay. “I loved the idea of being able to help students grow every day to become their own individuals. I feel a great responsibility to set a good example and I always try hard to show them the importance of being a good student. I hope that someday I can inspire kids as well and leave behind the same legacy as Colleen did for her students. Always be good to others and others will want to do the same.”

DANVERS HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Danvers resize2Danvers High School graduate Lillie Hodgkins will attend Assumption College, Colleen Ritzer’s alma mater this fall where she will pursue a degree in education with a minor in special education. Hodgkins led a busy schedule while in high school as a member of Tomorrow’s Teachers, Best Buddies and DECA. She was manager for the volleyball team and played on the lacrosse team.

“All of my life I have been inspired by my teachers,” shared Hodgkins in her essay. “Whether it’s the way they help me when I don’t understand something, or by recognizing my insecurities and being someone I am comfortable telling anything to, they have all impacted my future. I believe teaching is one of the most stressful and exhausting, yet rewarding, jobs there can be and I cannot wait to begin.”

Hodgkins was a member of the World Language National Honor Society, the Art National Honor Society and was named to the Honor Roll in each of her four years at Danvers High School. She was also a state qualifier at a DECA marketing competition.

Kristen McCarthy will also attend Assumption College, where she will major in elementary education and mathematics and play on the field hockey team.

“Through teaching, you can inspire but you can learn more from your students,” explained McCarthy in her essay. “Children can teach you more things about your own self than you knew existed. I want to become the teacher that everyone loves and looks forward to seeing, but also the one who teaches and leaves a lasting mark on her students, just as Ms. Ritzer did for her students. Ms. Ritzer will forever be the teacher I aspire to be. I would be lucky to become even half the teacher she was.”

McCarthy held leadership positions on the field hockey, hockey and lacrosse teams. She was secretary of the National Honor Society and participated in DECA, an association of marketing students. McCarthy is a member of Tomorrow’s Teachers and was a co-president of the Book Club.

Lindsay Richard will attend the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire in pursuit of a degree in secondary special education with a goal of becoming an English teacher. At Danvers High School, Richard was a member of the National Honor Society, the Chamber Singers and selected to be the student director of Ingrid Sound a Capella, the schools all-female a cappella group. She also was a co-teacher at her church.

“Several people have inspired me in wanting to obtain a degree in education,” wrote Richard in her essay. “My choral director is a wonderful person, and he is a daily reminder of how much of an effect a teacher can have on their students. My degree in education will enable me to pursue this dream of being able to help others and have a valuable impact on the lives of others.”

Richard was recognized for her musical talents with the Ingrid Sound a Capella’s Director’s Award. She was also selected to the Northeast Junior District Chorus as a freshman and the Northeast Senior District chorus as a sophomore.

Eileen Vandewalle will attend the University of Massachusetts – Amherst where she will major in elementary education with a goal of also obtaining certification in special education.

Vandewalle’s extra-curricular activities include a soloist with the a capella group Falconize; actress with Danvers High School Theatre; volunteer with the Northeast ARC; singer with the Northeast District Choir   and member of the Danvers High Student Board, National Honor Society, World Language Honors Society and Volleyball Club.

“I believe that helping and caring for others in this world is something one should always try to do,” wrote Vandewalle in her essay. “In teaching children, I will be given a way to help enrich and positively influence future generations, and I will be able to express my overwhelming care for children and their individual needs. To be a teacher is to dedicate yourself to helping and being good to people, and that is the legacy I want to leave behind.”

Her impressive list of recognitions include All-Star acting awards; the Danvers Choral Collaborative’s Director’s Award; Danvers High Best Actress awards; and outstanding achievement in chorus.

NASHOBA REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Nashoba resize2Nashoba Regional High School graduate Anna R. Fateiger will attend Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts this fall where she will major in mathematics with a minor in secondary education and statistics. Fateiger participated in a number of extra-curricular activities during high school including: religious education teacher; Drama Club; National Honor Society; Dance Team; Club for a Cause where she raised money for malaria nets in impoverished countries; and volunteered as a counselor in training at a summer camp.

“Whenever I say I am planning on majoring in education, most people’s follow-up question is ‘to teach what?’ and the look on people’s faces when I say that I want to teach high school math is what can only be described as looks of horror mixed with impress,” wrote Fateiger in her essay. “I want to help children and teenagers gain a love for learning and I want to encourage them to dream big and to not hold back. I strive to become a teacher that makes kids want to learn and see their true potential.”

Fateiger was recognized with a number of awards from the dance team and as a recipient of the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship.

Erica Taft will attend Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she will “delve into discovering my passions through means of policy, leadership, education or some combination of the three.”

Taft led a very busy schedule outside of high school. She was a member and President of the National Honors Society; played on the field hockey and lacrosse teams; worked at Kids-A-Lot Daycare; and hiked the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont. She also served as a Celiac Support Group Board Member at Boston Children’s Hospital and led her youth group at her church.

“Ms. Ritzer was one of the best teachers I had ever had,” said Taft in her scholarship essay. “I think of how her smile never faltered, because she was doing what she loved, and I want to find my passion like she did. I like to think that I am carrying on the caring nature Ms. Ritzer instilled in me.”

Taft has received a number of awards including one for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience, Outstanding Contributor towards Sportsmanship, Leadership & Athletic Achievement and an award from the Collings Foundation for demonstrated leadership.

Alica V. Torres will attend Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts where she will major in special education. Throughout high school, Torres engaged in a number of different activities such as caring for a cancer survivor; daycare volunteer; caring for a special needs individual; editor of the student newspaper; member of Best Buddies where she worked with disabled students in her school; and also plays the guitar.

“As someone who wants a similar career, Ms. Ritzer not only served as a teacher and a friend to me but also acted as a role model,” said Torres. “I looked up to her with great admiration, seeing how much she loved her job and the friendships she made with her students. She always had a smile when I walked into her classroom and created an environment that was fun and enjoyable for all of us. To this day, I am so incredibly thankful to have had a teacher, a friend, and an inspiration like Ms. Ritzer. She has not only encouraged me to pursue an educational career, but she continues to remind me to be a good person. Her legacy will stay with me as I start this new chapter in my life and I hope to be making the same impact on my students as she did for me.”

Torres earned Honors her freshman year and High Honors for her remaining years at Nashoba Regional High School.

The Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund is held at the Essex County Community Foundation.

 

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News

From Family, and Friends, Words of Love for Colleen

threeThe Ritzer family delivered the following statement following a sentencing hearing on Friday, February 26, 2016:

Our family is devastated and feels betrayed, with the restrictions placed upon Judge David Lowy that prohibited him from imposing three consecutive life sentences without the eligibility of parole upon the individual that took Colleen’s life in such a horrific manner.

Click here to read the impact statements shared by Colleen’s family and friends.icon

To understand the impact of Colleen’s loss on those that knew and loved her, click on the images below to watch some of the impassioned statements shared in court last week on Colleen’s behalf (Please scroll to the bottom of the page, or click here, to watch all of the statements in their entirety.)

 
tom peggie
dan gina
jennifer

On December 24, 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that juveniles convicted of murder could no longer be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole; instead the SJC ruled that such juveniles must be parole eligible at an age that is not equivalent to a life sentence. In, 2014, the legislature set that threshold at no later than thirty years. We recognize that Judge Lowy was faced with a difficult decision, one that was unfairly restricted by the imprudent actions of the SJC that limited the sentence he could impose. Although we very much appreciate the Salem Superior Court’s commitment to carefully weigh the evidence, and with respect for the jury’s decision, last week’s sentence is unacceptable and the laws must be changed.  Judges must have discretion to sentence “juvenile offenders” to life without parole, particularly in cases such as this where undisputed and horrific evidence was presented.

Colleen’s family, friends, students and those who admired her have been given a life sentence without parole, but not the individual who committed the heinous acts. This is wrong and unjust. Evil cannot be rehabilitated and does not deserve a second chance. Colleen cannot be provided a second chance, and neither should the individual who callously, and without remorse, took her life.

Last week’s sentencing does not conclude the legal process. The journey to ensure justice for Colleen has just begun.  The individual found guilty in this case was sentenced for multiple crimes, therefore the 40-year concurrent sentence prevents parole eligibility at 25 years. Regardless, in 38 years, our family will be forced to again hear the evidence and details from this trial as we attend the first of many parole hearings, which is simply unimaginable to us. The individual responsible will only be 54 years old when parole eligible. At each hearing, we will be forced to relive that day. However, we want to be very clear:  at every parole hearing our family’s voice – Colleen’s voice – will be heard.

The decision of the SJC was not only disrespectful to Colleen, but also to those who love her. The SJC betrayed all victims and their families.  We are hopeful that the Governor and legislature will recognize the great injustice imposed by the SJC and remedy this decision that extends compassion to criminals and disregards the dignity of victims and their families. While such an amended law will not provide justice for Colleen, it will enable judges to use their discretion when weighing just sentences for future victims and their families.

In handing down his sentence, Judge Lowy stated:

“When something terrible happens people will often say: “It could always be worse.” It is difficult for this Court to imagine what could be worse for an individual or a family to endure than the brutal and senseless murder of Colleen Ritzer.  Colleen Ritzer lived a life of quiet heroism.  That’s what most teachers do.  Henry Adams observed that “(a) teacher affects eternity; (she) can never tell where (her) influence stops.” Colleen Ritzer’s parents, more than most, have learned the reach of their daughter’s influence, but at a cost no parent should have to endure.  Colleen Ritzer loved her job, her family friends, students, and coworkers-the depth of that love was manifest today. She was loved and valued by her family, friends, students and so many people whose lives she touched. To paraphrase the book of Proverbs: “Who can find a woman of valor; her value is far beyond pearls.”

We pledge, as Colleen’s loved ones, to apply the same vigor for life that Colleen demonstrated every day, to righting this moral wrong. Although a change in the law will not impact our family, an amended law is necessary to ensure that families facing similar circumstances in the future are provided some degree of hope that judges can impose just sentences against individuals who commit horrific crimes.

Please click on the below image to watch all of the impact statements, in their entirety.

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News

Scholarship Recipients Offer Advice to Those Considering a Teaching Career

CR Sticker Opt 2At this time of year, high school seniors are busy completing college applications, which quickly transitions to making significant decisions such as where will I spend the next four years and what will I study? Colleen Ritzer, inspired by her pre-school teacher – known as “Miss Laura” to those in the Ritzer family – knew at the young age of three that she wanted to be a teacher and not only pursued, but achieved that dream.

First-year college students who received Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarships recently offered some timely advice for high school seniors considering a degree in education or seeking some direction on what course of study they should pursue. They also suggest ways in which to maximize the first year of college as an education major.

Danvers High graduate and Providence College student Rebecca Hardenstine encourages students entering college to obtain as much experience as possible, from day one.

“Whether it is teaching a CCD class, helping out at an after school program, or joining a club such as Tomorrow’s Teacher…the more time in a classroom, the better,” Hardenstine shares. “The only way you will truly know if teaching is your calling is by trying it.”

Haley O’Shea, a Danvers High graduate and student at Boston College encourages future – and potential – education majors to look within themselves to discover their passions.

“If you want to be a teacher, follow your heart and pay no attention to individuals who try to convince you that you should be something else,” O’Shea shared. “Follow your heart and don’t look back.”

Smith College student and Andover High graduate Meghan Johnson encourages students to question what is being taught and seek ways to improve one’s ability to learn.

“Don’t be afraid to criticize the learning environments that you are a part of,” states Johnson. “Part of being a good learner is knowing how to learn best. Talk with your teachers about how you think it could be improved. Do not accept your education for what it is. It is there to be changed and criticized. If you plan on working in education, you need to be able to see it in a critical eye.”

Danvers High graduate and Roger Williams University student Jenna Romano encourages students to approach a major in education with an open mind.

“The education field is constantly changing and I think it is really important to be flexible and not give up and change majors when there is a new policy or requirement,” explains Romano. “Not to mention, being open minded is an extremely valuable and important quality a teacher should demonstrate.”

The first recipient of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship from Nashoba Regional High School, and University of Delaware student, Clara Greszczuk challenges students to explore a number of different academic disciplines to broaden one’s wealth of knowledge that could someday be shared with future students.

“Take a variety of classes,” urges Greszczuk. “Most programs have breadth requirements in different fields, so you get to explore some topics that have always interested you. Don’t limit yourself by neglecting to explore different courses. Even if the subject isn’t something you think you’ll need for your future career, that doesn’t mean that you won’t gain a new perspective or interesting experiences.”

At St. Anselm College, Andover High graduate Casey Flanigan encourages students interested in education to “go for it.”

“A lot of people along the way may try to get you to change your mind and choose something else but teaching is such a rewarding career that it is definitely worth it,” shares Flanigan. “Don’t let anyone change your mind and follow your own dreams.”

Bates College freshman and Andover High graduate Sarah Rothmann has discovered influential rewards in looking outside of the classroom for learning opportunities and believes that students choose an education major to improve the learning and development of young children and adolescents.

“My advice would be to get involved in the community,” urged Rothmann . “Interacting with kids in the local school systems has really allowed me to apply and use my knowledge of education I have learned in the classroom.”

Lastly, University of New Hampshire student and Andover High graduate Katherine Rex also urges students to pursue their passions.

“Do what you love and don’t let anyone change your mind,” explained Rex. “My heart belongs to teaching and helping children and that is what I intend to pursue without anyone influencing my decision.”

News

2015 Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients Strengthen Passion for Teaching

Three months ago, nine Andover, Danvers and Nashoba Regional High School graduates departed eastern Massachusetts for institutions of higher learning as close as Boston College and as far away as the University of Delaware all with a common goal: to pursue their dream of becoming a teacher, just like Colleen Ritzer. These individuals, the second group to receive a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, have just completed their first semester of college as they prepare to follow in Colleen’s footsteps to become a teacher who will inspire, care and challenge their future students to be, and find, the good.

Danvers High graduate Rebecca Hardenstine, currently attending Providence College, has not only developed a greater passion for becoming a teacher, but has discovered another interest and is now an elementary/special education and psychology major.

“I believe that understanding psychology will only help me become a better teacher and understand my students more,” shared Hardenstine.

The scholarship has enabled her to attend her “first-choice” college. “This combined major is not offered at many other colleges.  Further, due to both a merit scholarship at my school and this scholarship I was able to avoid taking any unsubsidized federal loans,” she added.

While only a first-year student, Hardenstine has already obtained valuable field experience in a local elementary school.

Each week me and a group of my peers would walk over to the school and help facilitate various after-school programs,” Hardenstine explained. “During this time, I worked with the second graders. Even if I was having a bad day, their pure energy and excitement for learning was contagious. Each time I went in I was reminded of why I want to be a teacher. Their smiles, laughter, and curiosity inspire me; and I cannot picture myself being anything other than a teacher.”

In Boston’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, Danvers High graduate Haley O’Shea quickly discovered that she can accomplish “anything I set my mind to.”

During her first semester, O’Shea took an interest in her child growth and development class where students learn about children’s cognitive, physical, and psycho-social development from birth to middle childhood – knowledge necessary for a future teacher.

While the scholarship provided financial support for O’Shea to pursue her degree in education, she shared that it is the honor of being a recipient of a Colleen Ritzer Scholarship that motivates her to succeed.

“No amount of money can compare to the drive I have been given to carry on Ms. Ritzer’s legacy of kindness,” shared O’Shea. “Receiving the Colleen Ritzer Scholarship was by far the greatest honor I have ever received simply because it is in Ms. Ritzer’s memory. I aspire to someday be like Ms. Ritzer and the scholarship has given me the confidence I need to continue on my journey to becoming a teacher no matter what hardships I might face along the way.”

randomactOn October 22nd of this year, O’Shea joined thousands across the area and country who participated in the #Kindness4Colleen campaign in which individuals were encouraged to perform random acts of genuine kindness in memory of Colleen.

Teaming up with her resident assistant, O’Shea led the #Kindness4Colleen effort at Boston College.

“My floor mates and I decided that we would each perform a random act of kindness to brighten somebody else’s day,” she explained. “My RA created note cards that would be passed on to recipients of each random act of kindness. The recipients would then be encouraged to perform an act of kindness themselves and pass the note card along once more, thus creating a chain of kindness throughout Boston College.”

“Ms. Ritzer’s legacy is now known and loved by my floor mates, who come from all across the country: Alaska, Massachusetts,randomact2 Minnesota, Texas and Washington. Ms. Ritzer’s legacy of kindness has reached all corners of the country.”

O’Shea is grateful to those who support the scholarship fund, thereby contributing to Colleen’s legacy.

“Ms. Ritzer’s legacy continues to shine through in the lives of the students she touched and I am honored to be able to spread this legacy of kindness,” explained O’Shea.

At Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, Andover High graduate Meghan Johnson has taken a particular interest in introduction to learning sciences.

“It is fascinating to learn the science behind learning and thinking and how different teaching methods can be utilized to foster good learning environments,” said Johnson.

Thanks to the scholarship, Johnson did not have to apply for a work study position thereby providing additional time to focus on her pursuit of an education degree.

“I am still interested in pursuing a degree in education because I think it is a field that needs new, innovative thinkers to come in and change the way that it currently works,” Johnson shared.

To the supporters of the scholarship fund, Johnson offers her sincere gratitude.

“Thank you so much for supporting this scholarship. It means a lot to receive this scholarship and I’m looking forward to pursuing my career in education because of you.”

At Roger Williams University in the seaside town of Bristol, Rhode Island, Danvers High graduate Jenna Romano has embraced her independence as a college freshman where she is meeting new friends, enjoying the challenge of her courses and finding happiness in her new home.

Romano’s favorite class during her first semester was psychology of learning, a requirement for elementary education majors. Her appreciation for the subject matter lead Romano to declare a minor in psychology. Romano, too, ventured off campus visiting an elementary school during the semester to observe a teacher in the classroom. Following the visit, Romano “couldn’t wait to have my very own classroom one day. I am so excited to become a teacher, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

The scholarship has immeasurably influenced her pursuit of a degree in education.

“The scholarship has absolutely made a huge impact on my life and will definitely affect my career,” Romano explained. “I am able to pursue my dream job without the financial worries. I can focus on what I need to do to accomplish my goal and the scholarship has allowed me to do that.”

Romano is also grateful for the generous supporters of the scholarship fund.

“Without their [supporters] generosity, I would not be where I am today,” Romano shared. “Not only did the scholarship help financially, but being a recipient of the Colleen Ritzer Scholarship reminds me each day of Ms. Ritzer and her legacy.

While grateful for the supporters, Romano remains inspired by Colleen.

“I continue to live by her words by spreading kindness, and I feel so honored to be compared to such an amazing teacher,” Romano explained. “I couldn’t thank the scholarship supporters and the Ritzer family enough for their continued support.”

This year, the family extended eligibility to seniors at Nashoba Regional High School. Colleen taught at Hale Middle School in Stow after college. The students she taught are now in the high school. The scholarship was also awarded in memory of Michelle Farnsworth, a Nashoba High student who lost her battle with cancer in 2015.

Currently studying elementary education at the University of Delaware, Nashoba High graduate Clara Greszczuk, has immersed herself in the many opportunities offered by “UD” such as club meetings, performances, speakers and community service trips.

Greszczuk is already contemplating a year abroad and participating in a community service trip, endeavors that the scholarship will help to make a reality.

“There are such great opportunities available to travel the world and learn about other cultures as well as help others in those places,” said Greszczuk. “Since this scholarship is helping with tuition, these trips would be less of a financial burden.”

Her interest in obtaining an education degree has continued, with a goal of becoming a high school teacher, just like Colleen.

“That is the age where I really connected with my teachers,” explained Greszczuk. “My teachers here continue to inspire me by challenging me to think critically about the world. I have also learned a lot about my teachers and how they got to where they are today. I learned about how lucky I was to have had such wonderful teachers at home while not everybody I’ve met here has had those great experiences.”

In Manchester, New Hampshire, a quick drive from Andover High where she graduated from this past spring, Casey Flanigan is also embracing her newly discovered independence at Saint Anselm College.

Her favorite class thus far as she pursues a degree in education? Calculus. In addition to enjoying a field in which Colleen specialized, Flanigan spent time this semester volunteering in a middle school classroom which reinforced her love of teaching. Connecting with three other education majors in her residence hall, she discovered a common principle shared by the students: to “make a difference in someone’s life and be a good role model for students in our classroom.”

Similar to the other recipients, Flanigan, too, is thankful for the supporters of the scholarship fund.

“Without you, this scholarship would not be possible and students like me may not be able to pursue their goals,” shared Flanigan. “Thank you so much for this opportunity, I will be forever grateful.”

At Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, Andover High graduate Sarah Rothmann, learned to take advantage of every opportunity offered by the college experience, especially during the first-year where students can explore their passions.

As an education major, it’s no surprise that Rothmann was drawn to exploring narratives on education and American writers since 1900. Through a placement, she has already begun to share her passion for learning with students.

“This semester I was placed at a local elementary school to help struggling students with their reading,” Rothmann explained. “Their eagerness to improve their reading skills and their genuine excitement about seeing me every week has solidified my desire to become a teacher and become more involved with education policy. Everybody has a different learning style and as a community of young, aspiring leaders, we want to help enhance the education of younger students.”

Katherine Rex is well on her way to earning a degree in education at the University of New Hampshire in Durham where she took a particular interest in human growth and development, English and ballet, which has provided an every other day respite from her studies.

Rex remains passionate about her pursuit of an education degree.

“I am even more interested in becoming a teacher than I was when I entered college,” said Rex. “I want to make difference in children’s lives, and by becoming a teacher, I will be able to help them and make the world a safer and better place.”

Colleen continues to influence Rex in her pursuit of an education degree.

“I think about Colleen every day and never forget to live everyday as she would, with an open heart,” shared Rex. “It is important for me to surround myself with people who are interested in the same things as me, because I know they will be just like me and Colleen. My friends have the biggest hearts, and we would do anything for each other. It makes me feel so good that I was able to find amazing friends like this in such little time.”

“I am so blessed and honored to be continuing Colleen’s legacy,” added Rex.

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Inaugural Scholarship Recipients Motivated by Passion for Teaching, Contributing to Colleen’s Legacy

 

CR Sticker Opt 2The first recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship have completed their third semester of college and, driven by a passion to be an inspiration to young learners, continue to pursue a degree in education so that they, like Colleen, can be an enthusiastic presence in the classroom. Many of the scholarship recipients have spent countless hours in classrooms observing various teachings styles and how to impart upon students a memorable learning experience.

Andrea Lang (Danvers), a sophomore elementary education major with a minor in math and Spanish at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, continues a strong interest in the field. That interest swayed Lang to spend the summer working at a Montessori School and as a DARE Camp counselor.

“I’m continuing to pursue a career in education because I am still passionate and excited about working with children and impacting their lives in a positive way,” shared Lang. “Through my experience with both groups of children this summer and seeing them grow and change as a result of my influence, I was reminded of the happiness that working with children brings me and was reassured that teaching is what I am passionate about. I am excited about the challenge of finding the most beneficial, relevant, and efficient way to help each individual student succeed, understand the material, and be excited about learning.”

Lang offers her gratitude to supporters of the scholarship fund for enabling her to pursue the dream of becoming a teacher.

“Thank you for helping and encouraging me to accomplish my career and educational goals and making it possible to do what makes me happy,” added Lang.

Also at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Christine Aumais (Andover), has declared psychology and public health as her major which she will use to prepare for a career in school counseling or school psychology. She hopes to apply concepts learned in the classroom help students reach their full potential.

“My education classes are the classes that I am the most interested in, and most eager to go to class and do the readings for,” explained Aumais. “I’ve learned that there are so many different aspects of education that I wasn’t even aware of, but each one continues to pleasantly surprise and interest me. Even more so, I’ve learned and become more sure that working as part of an education system is what I truly want to do with my life.”

As Aumais pursues her degree, the scholarship continues to make a positive impact on her studies.

“The scholarship has continued to make a difference in my ability to pursue higher education opportunities because it helps relieve some of the financial burden of buying textbooks, and tuition and allows me to focus on my classes with access to all of the materials I need to succeed,” shared Aumais.

Aumais, too, shares her appreciation for those who have generously supported the scholarship fund.

“I would like to thank the supporters of the scholarship fund again, not only have they helped take some of the financial burden off of my college experience, this scholarship is a constant reminder of how to live my life,” shared Aumais. “I do my best to be kind to people, and follow Colleen’s legacy, as well as finding the good in everyday, which often times is just knowing that there are so many people supporting me.

Soon, Tess Dever (Andover) will formally apply to the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education where she will major in elementary education with a concentration on mathematics. If Dever had any doubts about her chosen career path, they were assuaged in her first two semesters at college.

“While taking the education courses so far at UConn, I have learned that this is my true passion,” shared Dever. “I enjoy these classes so much, and know that I am gaining tools now that I will use in my future. As I go through these courses, I know that this is what I am meant to do. I am happiest when I am in the classroom working with students, and I want to spend the rest of my life doing what makes me happiest”

Thanks to the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, Dever was able to travel outside of the country to experience learning in poorer areas of the world.

“It was because of this scholarship that I was able to do a four-week study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa over the summer,” explained Dever. “In Cape Town I was able to intern at an elementary school, working with underprivileged children. The scholarship also continues to help me pursue my degree at UConn.”

“To the donors, I want to say thank you, because without this, I would not be able to pursue this degree and without this, I wouldn’t be able to reach my dream of becoming a teacher,” added Dever.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst student Courtney Comeau (Andover) is learning the importance of teachers and the lasting wisdom they share with their students.

“Teachers impact students every day and play a crucial role in their development,” Comeau shares. “My education classes are a constant reminder to me as to why I want to become a teacher.  I feel passionate about giving each student an equal opportunity to succeed.”

Pursuing a communications major with an early education minor, upon graduation, Comeau will fulfill the requirements to teach at the pre-school to second grade levels.

“I want to make a difference in as many children’s lives as possible,” Comeau shares. “I want to be a positive role model in children’s lives. I want to encourage them. I want them to look up to me and feel worthy because of something I said to them that made a difference in their life. I feel that with pursuing a career in education, I can make a difference in future generations both in and out of the school environment.”

While only in her second year of undergraduate studies, Comeau is already looking ahead to potential graduate school opportunities.

Comeau is honored for being named one of the first recipients of a scholarship in Colleen’s name.

“I think the Colleen Ritzer Scholarship is a nice way to help students find greatness and empowerment in themselves and live up to Colleen’s idea of what a great teacher is,” said Comeau. “I will always be proud to be a recipient of this powerful scholarship and I am reminded of it every year and continue to feel more proud each year.”

At Endicott College, elementary education major Emily Felter (Andover) also spent considerable time observing teachers in classrooms where she is learning how education impacts all children, regardless of financial means.

“I am very passionate about making sure all students are given fair and equal opportunities to learn,” said Felter. “This means all children are treated with respect and love, and I will instill a sense of confidence. I want children to have the confidence to believe they can succeed if they want to.”

In those classrooms, Felter witnessed how a teacher can make a significant difference in the life of a child.

“Last winter I spent a few weeks in a third grade classroom as an intern,” said Felter. “In this class I had many wonderful experiences interacting and teaching the class. This internship proved to me that this is what I want to be doing.”

Felter, also, expresses her thanks to the thousands of individuals and organizations that have generously given in support of the Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship Fund.

“College is expensive and there are so many things to worry about and balance,” said Felter. “To receive help in paying for college is extraordinarily helpful. I would like to thank all of the supporters of the scholarship fund. It means so much to me that our community can come together to support our future teachers.”

At Assumption College, Jessica Ferronetti (Andover) has blended her interest in the Spanish culture with her passion for education as she pursues a dual major in Spanish and education. As a second year college student pursuing an education degree, Ferronetti has already engaged with students in a classroom.

“I was given the opportunity to plan and teach a lesson for my class this semester and I had so much fun doing it,” shared Ferronetti. “This showed me that I really do want to teach Spanish, and I have really enjoyed learning how to convey my love of Spanish to my students.”

Her interest in teaching is nurtured by this and other experiences where Ferronetti works with students.

“This past summer, I was able to experience teaching campers the leadership skills they need to have in order to be counselors at the summer camp I work at, and I looked forward to working with these amazing kids every day,” said Ferronetti. “They were middle and high school aged kids, right around the age that I want to teach. My experiences with these different groups of kids over the summer really solidified my choice to pursue a career in education.”

Ferronetti remains thankful for the honor of being selected to receive a Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship for the legacy to which she is contributing.

“I am so grateful to have received the Colleen Ritzer scholarship,” shared Ferronetti. “It has allowed me to have less of a financial burden so that I can focus more on my studies. I am also grateful to be following in Colleen’s legacy. It has really made a difference in my life, and it is an amazing way for Colleen’s legacy to live on– to inspire students to pursue what they love, and to teach others to have this love.”

Also at Assumption, her pursuit of an education degree not only excites, but is a driving force for sophomore Carly Sakallarios (Andover).

“You know that you’re on the right path when you are excited to wake up and go to class every day because you know that what you are going to learn is going to help you do what you have always wanted to do,” shared Sakallarios.

Driven by her dream of becoming a teacher, the scholarship has provided necessary resources to enable Sakallarios to pursue her career goals.

“The scholarship helps a great deal in paying for tuition, so instead of worrying about having a job on campus, I am able to further focus on my studies,” Sakallarios explains.

In addition to her classes, Sakallarios has also joined an on-campus community service club, the Reach Out Center (ROC). This past semester, through the ROC, she has volunteered in a kindergarten classroom applying what she has learned in a College classroom in an elementary school environment.

Catherine Lamoly (Danvers), a second year student at Roger Williams University who will double major in secondary education and history, is learning about the type of teacher she hopes to be upon graduation.

“Taking education classes has taught … that things are going to get challenging at times, and that’s a good thing,” said Lamoly. “Through the education program at my school, I was given the opportunity to frequently sit in on a high school history class and observe, as well as speak with and help out the students. Going to the school gets me so excited about what the future holds for me.”

And during those challenging times, Lamoly reflects upon the scholarship and its namesake.

“The scholarship makes all the difference,” explains Lamoly. “When things get really difficult in school, Ms. Ritzer’s scholarship is what motivates me to keep going. I’m so thankful that I was able to receive this scholarship and that it motivates me to become an influential teacher every day. It made me so happy to see members of the class of 2015 receive the scholarship and I look forward to see more students carry on Ms. Ritzer’s legacy as time goes on.”

Wagner College sophomore Mary Leahy (Danvers) is often reassured of her decision to major in education.

“I have found my calling in life,” shares Leahy. “Every education class that I have taken thus far has reconfirmed my love for teaching and my desire to have my own classroom one day. “

Like many scholarship recipients, Leahy has taken an interest in a particular discipline in education.

“My favorite class this semester is an education class called, Learning Environment for Students with Exceptionalities,” explained Leahy. “It is a special education based class where I learn the different special education categories under the Americans with Disability Act and what all of the Individual Educational Plans (IEP) would look like. As my final project, I made an IEP for a student that was assigned to me at random. I had to ensure all of her needs were accounted for based on test results and teacher observations. I loved this class because my ultimate goal is to be a special education teacher and this class taught me so much about the field and most importantly taught me how to write an IEP.”

Thanks to the scholarship, Leahy, a psychology and childhood general and special education double major, is empowered to pursue her interests which includes more than 100 hours of teacher observation in actual classrooms.

“This scholarship provides financial relief so that I can go to school without the burden of a student loan weighing on my shoulders,” explained Leahy. “This scholarship allows me to focus on my studies and not have to worry about working to pay for school.”

For Leahy, the scholarship is much more than a financial award, rather a great responsibility.

“I would just like to say thank you to everyone who supports the scholarship for not only aiding me in living out my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher but also for helping to keep Ms. Ritzer’s legacy alive.”

Each day generates newfound excitement and enthusiasm for Sarah Mountain (Danvers), an elementary education and American studies double major also at Salem State.

“The scholarship has absolutely made a difference in helping me receive my education,” said Mountain. “The scholarship has not only just given me financial help, it has given me confidence in myself. Whenever I am having a rough day and everything seems too much I remember all the things that have helped me get to where I am now. I think of these things and remember how thankful I am for them. The scholarship is definitely one of the things I remember that I am thankful for.”

Mountain pursues a teaching career not simply to impart knowledge upon students, but, like Colleen, to influence their lives in a memorable way whether it be working at an after-school program or learning in the classroom.

“I choose a career path in education not only because I love school but because I love helping people by making a difference in their lives,” said Mountain. “The teachers in my life always made a huge impact on me and I would love to be able to do the same for others. A teacher can change a student’s life; I would love to be able to make an impact on others in the future.”

To the supporters of the scholarship fund, Mountain is grateful.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported the scholarship fund, because of their contributions I am one step closer to reaching my dream to become a teacher,” shared Mountain. “The scholarship fund can help recipients like myself make a difference for others. Their act of kindness in supporting the scholarship can help many more accomplish their goals of teaching. “

At Salem State University, Samantha Walters (Danvers) thoroughly immersed herself in, and enjoyed, a class titled Contemporary Secondary Schools.

“We learned about how middle & high schools have changed and adapted over the years, and all the different techniques put into teaching all the different subjects,” shared Walters. “At the end, we had a final group project where we had to create a presentation on the effectiveness of teaching our major subject(s), as well as how the techniques have developed. This was the last time our professor would teach this class, because he was retiring, and I’m very thankful I got to have him because I learned a lot from him, and his experiences that he shared with us. He is also actually very involved in the Danvers community, as he has grandchildren in the schools. We spoke about Colleen and some of my other high school teachers sometimes.”

Walters looks forward to sharing that same type of inspiring moment with her future students.

“Teachers make a big difference in students’ experiences in high school, and it’s so nice to think that someday you could have a great impact on even just one student,” explained Walters. It’s a rewarding experience I can’t wait to have on my own. I will be forever grateful to the supporters of the scholarship, and of course the Ritzer family.”

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Ritzer Family Statement on Jury Verdict

CR Sticker Opt 2(SALEM, Massachusetts)-Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer today issued the following statement.

“Our family would like to thank the jury for their fair and careful consideration of the evidence and overwhelming facts presented during the past few weeks. We would also like to thank Judge David Lowy for his commitment to bringing this trial to completion.

While we are pleased with the verdict, we are aware that the judicial process will continue. Appeals will certainly be filed and, given the state’s guidelines for so-called “juvenile sentencing,” we may be forced to once again publically endure this pain and suffering during parole hearings. This guilty verdict, while the beginning of justice for Colleen, is certainly no cause for celebration as there can never be true justice for the crime committed. There remains a tremendous and painful absence in our lives, one that, sadly, can never be replaced.

Our family enters a new phase in our lives, one that we have no choice but to begin. However, we do so knowing of the remarkable difference Colleen made in her short life, and continues to make in the lives of so many. We continue to witness Colleen’s impact among her students and those who never had the opportunity to call her a teacher, friend, sister or daughter. Her spirit continues, particularly in the recipients of the scholarships given in her name – those who plan to emulate Colleen by pursuing their dreams to become caring and compassionate teachers.

As part of this new phase in our lives, we, our family and friends, will continue our efforts to share Colleen’s story and how one person can make a profound difference in the lives of so many. We will honor her legacy and be her voice during the continued judicial process. Colleen never gave up, and neither will we. We will not allow her death to define how she is remembered.

In our darkest hours, there have been a number of individuals, in addition to our family and friends, who provided a shoulder to cry on, a captive ear to listen or devoted their professional and personal resources to ensure a just resolution to this agonizing ordeal.

We want to express our gratitude to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and his office, particularly Kate MacDougall, Melissa Woodard, David O’Sullivan and Maureen Leal, for their passionate efforts to ensure justice for our daughter and sister, Colleen. Their personal attention to this case, inside and outside of the courtroom, was comforting to our family during this difficult time. Their steadfast dedication to fairly presenting the facts of this case while demonstrating paramount respect for Colleen, and caring and compassion to our family, despite difficult circumstances are beyond appreciated.

We also share our sincere appreciation with the law enforcement community who viewed this as more than just a “case.” The Massachusetts State Police, Danvers Police Department, Essex County Sheriffs and the Salem Superior Court Officers have demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and sincere compassion since our unfortunate meeting two years ago. In their caring actions, especially those of Detective Lieutenant Norman Zuk and Trooper Steven Buccheri, we have witnessed the same kindness that defined Colleen.

One of Colleen’s favorite quotes was “there is something good in every day.” To celebrate our love for her and in recognition of the many lives Colleen touched and continues to influence, despite the immense loss we are forced to endure, we will carry on and do our very best to find the good in every day.”

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Save the Date: Holiday Pops Concert 12.13.15 to Benefit the Scholarship Fund

All are invited to a Sunday, December 13, 2015 Annual Pops Concert presented by International Cars and its flagship dealership, Honda North. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund and other local charities.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

The concert features the Hillyer Festival Orchestra 1 p.m.at the Danvers High School Auditorium, 1 p.m., 60 Cabot Road, Danvers. Guests will enjoy traditional holiday classics and festive sing-a-longs under Maestro Dirk Hillyer, with guest Soprano, Erin Smith.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Ticket Prices:  Adults $20, Seniors (Age 60 and over) $15, $10 for High School/Middle School Students, Children Under 12 are free.

 

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Ritzer Family Statement on #Kindness4Colleen

CR Sticker Opt 2(ANDOVER, Massachusetts)-Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer today issued the following statement in response to the #Kindness4Colleen effort that encourages all do to something “good” today in honor of Colleen Ritzer.

“Our family is overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of good performed today in support of the #Kindness4Colleen effort. Since 2013, and going forward, October 22 will always be a day of great sadness and pain, however we, and Colleen’s extended family and friends, are strengthened by the many good deeds that are done today in her name. We are proud that Colleen continues to inspire others to simply be good to people,” said the Ritzer Family.

“As a family, we thank the many individuals and organizations that have taken a moment out of their busy day to remember Colleen and do something good in support of #Kindness4Colleen. We would also like to thank Colleen’s close friend, Jennifer, for initiating this beautiful tribute.”

Jennifer created the #Kindness4Colleen effort to honor her friend, Colleen, and to build upon her strong legacy as a compassionate and caring teacher, friend, daughter and sister. Individuals are encouraged to perform simple acts of kindness (holding a door for a stranger, buying someone a cup of coffee, sharing a compliment), then share on social media using #Kindness4Colleen.

Additional information may be found on the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship website. Click here to follow the campaign online.

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Will You Share #Kindness4Colleen?

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.34.13 PMI know firsthand that Colleen Ritzer was a caring and loving individual. Being her best friend, I was fortunate to kindnessexperience her positive impact not only personally but on others as well. Colleen always knew how to cheer up someone’s day. Some examples of Colleen’s kindness include posting optimistic quotes about life on social media, sending cards (snail mail) to friends at random times and organizing her family’s team for an annual walk benefiting the American Heart Association. Colleen’s kind-heartedness knew no bounds and it came from a genuine place. (Click on the image above to download cards you may share with others with whom you share a random act of kindness.)

“Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

Since losing Colleen on October 22, 2013, I have wanted to find a way to honor my friend and help to keep her memory alive. That is how  Kindness for Colleen originated.  The idea is to take the day that will always be a sad reminder of who we lost and make it a little better. Colleen’s compassion and positivity will always be with those who knew her and I think it fitting we keep her legacy alive.

Like Kindness for Colleen on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

On October 22nd  you can participate in Kindness for Colleen by performing acts of kindness. You can choose to do one good deed or several. Acts of kindness, no matter how great or small, have an incredible way of impacting others. After performing your act of kindness we ask that you share what you did online through the Kindness for Colleen Facebook page and by using #Kindness4Colleen on social media.

Colleen embodied this spirit of thoughtfulness in her day to day life. She didn’t have to do much to inspire others to follow in her footsteps and do the same. Holding the door for a stranger, buying someone a cup of coffee, giving a compliment- these are just a few acts of kindness you can perform in support of #Kindness4Colleen. Please join me on October 22 and inspire others to do something good.

-Jennifer Berger