Step Up for ColleenUncategorized

Community to Honor & “Step Up” for Colleen Ritzer

Thousands to Descend Upon Andover on May 1 in Memory of  Beloved Teacher, Friend, Sister and Daughter Who Continues to Inspire

(ANDOVER, Massachusetts) – Thousands of walkers and runners will gather in Andover’s Central Park on Sunday, May 1, for the Third Annual Step Up for Colleen 5K, to be held in memory of beloved teacher Colleen Ritzer. The 5K begins at 9:00 a.m. following a brief 8:45 a.m. opening ceremony. Proceeds from the event will benefit college scholarships awarded to graduating Andover, Danvers and Nashoba Regional High School seniors who plan to major in education in college. Online registration is available at

Race director Nina Caron expects thousands of walkers and runners again this year.

“Colleen Ritzer continues to inspire people throughout our community,” she said. “Many have searched for a way to honor Colleen. This race is one way that those who knew her, or those who have been touched by her story, can do something ‘good’ by generating resources for a scholarship in her name to benefit future, caring teachers.”

“As a family, we have once again endured a difficult year, however the runners, walkers, volunteers and all who turn out for the Step Up for Colleen remind us of the love that Colleen shared with so many,” said Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer. “We are incredibly grateful to the thousands who selflessly give of themselves each year on a Sunday morning in May to take a moment to remember, and recognize, Colleen. Through the race and those who volunteer, we are reminded of the good that exists in this world, the good that Colleen sought to share each and every day.”

Attendees are asked to wear pink, Colleen’s favorite color. Pink bows will line the USA Track & Field certified course, which winds through Phillips Academy’s scenic Moncrieff Cochran Sanctuary. This year’s Step Up for Colleen 5K will feature more post-race offerings, including family-friendly features such as face-painting, balloon artistry, a live broadcast from 92.5 The River, a photo booth and more.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female overall finishers, as well as top finishers in each age group. Race shirts are guaranteed to the first 3,000 registrants.

About Colleen Ritzer
Colleen Ritzer, a lifelong resident of Andover, passed away on October 22, 2013. She was a 2007 graduate of Andover High School and a 2011 graduate of Assumption College. Colleen was a math teacher at Danvers High School and was pursuing a graduate degree at Salem State College. She adored spending time with her family and friends, and was an amazing daughter and big sister to her brother and sister, Daniel and Laura. She made a lasting impression on everyone she met. From a young age, Colleen knew she wanted to be a teacher and worked diligently to achieve her goal. Even though teaching was her profession, it was also one of her favorite hobbies and her passion. She spent countless hours finding unique and creative ways to inspire and teach her students.

About the Step Up for Colleen Fund
The Step Up for Colleen Fund, held at the Essex County Community Foundation, supports charitable activities that honor the legacy of Colleen Ritzer, including the Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship Fund, which benefits graduating Andover, Danvers and Nashoba Regional High School seniors who demonstrate a passion for teaching, academic excellence, and love of family. Since its inception, the Colleen E. Ritzer Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $50,000 to 21 deserving students.