EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 26, 2013

Family to honor Ritzer's legacy

Teacher scholarship established as funeral services are planned


Remembrances and memorials to Ritzer continued yesterday from within town and beyond.

At Assumption College in Worcester, where Ritzer earned her undergraduate degree in 2011, a memorial service was held in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. The service included Scripture readings, recorded instrumental and vocal music from Assumption’s Chapel Choir, and a reflection by Fr. Dennis Gallagher, Assumption’s vice president for mission. Those present were allowed to come forward to light a candle in Ritzer’s memory.

One of Ritzer’s college classmates and fellow math majors at Assumption, Katelyn Mahoney, is launching a fundraiser selling hot pink wristbands, similar to the yellow LiveStrong wristbands, with the words “Find good every day” printed on them. The saying was one of Ritzer’s mottos in life. Proceeds from wristband sales will benefit the scholarship fund.

“As a high school math teacher myself, I have had a very difficult time accepting this tragedy,” Mahoney posted on Facebook. “It is important for Colleen’s legacy to live on.”

At Andover High School, grief counselors were made available in the aftermath of Ritzer’s tragic death on Tuesday, when one of her 14-year-old math students at Danvers High School stands accused of murdering the beloved teacher in a school bathroom and disposing of her body in the adjacent woods.

Andover Superintendent of Schools Marinel McGrath said a moment of remembrance was observed Thursday morning in honor of the 2007 Andover High graduate. On Wednesday, the field hockey team’s game against North Andover was postponed so the players could attend a candlelight vigil at Danvers High School.

McGrath said the Andover High faculty held a meeting Tuesday after school, which she said was “standard protocol when there is a matter that needs to be discussed.

“It is a time when the faculty and staff can reflect upon how the students and faculty are doing when there is difficult news to process,” McGrath said.

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