St. Augustine Students Remember Colleen

The day after the 5th Annual Step Up for Colleen 5K Walk/Run, the student Leadership Team at St. Augustine School in Andover, Massachusetts organized a day to remember Colleen.

Like each day at St. Augustine the day began with morning prayer, but on Monday, May 7, students were joined by special guests: Colleen’s parents, Tom and Peggie, and cousin, Gina. Following the morning prayer, Patricia Bibeau and Michael Nabbout, members of the Leadership Team, led Colleen’s parents on a tour of the school to showcase all the school has done.

The Leadership Team, comprised of students and advised by teacher Mary Ann Rex, created a number of different means by which to spread messages of kindness in memory of Colleen. (Rex’s daughter, Katie, is a 2015 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship recipient.) Students also wore pink – and pink ribbons – as a casual day fundraiser benefiting the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund, while promoting kindness such as the older students assisting younger students in writing kind words and meaningful thoughts regarding how to be kind to others. These messages of kindness were written on pink strips of paper that brought the school together as each grade linked their messages together to form a paper chain which is now hanging in each classroom as a reminder to be kind to one another.

“In the wake of the news of school violence all over the country, our students wanted to take some time to focus on the positives,” said Mary Ann Rex, advisor of the Leadership Team, while discussing the school’s inspiration behind this effort. “Colleen’s legacy was one of love and kindness and we wanted to spread that message throughout our school community. Colleen is one of our own, and we are truly keeping her message of kindness in our hearts.”

While all of the Ritzers could not be in attendance, each was made aware of the students’ selfless efforts to carry on Colleen’s legacy of being kind to one another.

“Efforts such as those by the thoughtful students and teachers at St. Augustine to encourage and share a message of kindness remind our family that Colleen continues to inspire and impact students and others to simply be good to one another,” said Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer. “From these examples of kindness we draw strength knowing that Colleen’s legacy endures as a call to be good to one another. We are grateful to the students and teachers that took the time to learn about Colleen, a former religious education teacher at St. Augustine, and all that she stood for.”