Ritzer Family Announces 2019 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Recipients
(ANDOVER, Massachusetts) – The family of Colleen Ritzer, Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura, today announced the 2019 recipients of the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in education at a four-year accredited college. Through their receipt of this Scholarship, the recipients will strive to carry on Colleen’s legacy as a caring and compassionate teacher.
This year, the Ritzer family awarded over $50,000 of scholarships in Colleen’s name., including $20,000 to 2019 graduating seniors and over $30,000 to previous years’ recipients. Since its inception in 2014, nearly $240,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 58 future teachers.
“With nearly 60 current and future teachers following in Colleen’s footsteps, we are in awe of how much Colleen’s legacy has grown in the past five and a half years,” said the Ritzer family. “Our family continues to be amazed by the support the Scholarship Fund and Colleen’s legacy receives. We are excited to watch each of the recipients grow and blossom as they lead their own classroom and inspire future generations, just as Colleen continues to do.”
This year’s recipients from Andover High School, Danvers High School and Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School demonstrate a strong desire for helping others and are excited to begin their journey towards their own classroom. Each recipient demonstrated great promise through their high school endeavors from National Honor Societies to participating in extracurricular activities and community service such as Tomorrow’s Teachers and peer mentoring and not only playing, but coaching the sports they love.
The 2019 Scholarship recipients from Andover include Grace Dunn, Maeve Gaffney, Alec Haffner, Kathleen Hartnett, Hope Joel, Katharine Leland, and Jessica Shay. The Scholarship recipients from Danvers are Alicia Cone, Shaelyn McGrath, and Timothy West.
The Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund 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.
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, inspired them to do so. 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 or Danvers residents graduating from public or private high school, 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 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; Holly Breen, Andover High School Health Education teacher; and Kimberly Rocha, Nashoba Regional High School English teacher.