ANDOVER — As the community prepares to say farewell to Colleen Ritzer, her family is ensuring the 24-year-old Danvers High School math teacher’s legacy and passion for teaching lives on.
They have established the Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship in memory of their “beautiful daughter and sister.”
The scholarship will be awarded to students who will be pursuing a degree in education “so they can continue her legacy of making a difference in a student’s life.”
Ritzer’s sister, Laura, a senior at Andover High School, posted the details of the scholarship to the “Remembering Colleen Ritzer” Facebook page yesterday.
“It would mean the world to my family to raise money to support future teachers that will make a difference in the world,” Laura Ritzer wrote.
Then she had this message for her big sister:
“You left behind an amazing legacy Colleen, and we want more people to be an inspiration as big as you. “
Colleen Ritzer will be laid to rest Monday following a funeral Mass at her family’s spiritual home, St. Augustine Church on Essex Street in Andover. Her burial will follow in Spring Grove Cemetery, where her grandfather, Paul Martellucci Sr., was buried last year.
To accommodate the outpouring of those wishing to pay their final respects, Sunday’s calling hours will also be held at St. Augustine Church from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. The 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass at St. Augustine has been canceled to accommodate the visiting hours.
Fr. Peter Gori said while it’s rare that a Mass schedule would be altered to allow for a wake, his parish has sought to accommodate the Ritzer family, who have been long-standing parishioners of St. Augustine for generations.
”We’re trying to make things as gracious and gentle for the family,” he said, adding that parishioners who typically attend the 5:30 p.m. Mass are encouraged to attend an earlier Mass at St. Augustine or another in the area.