EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 29, 2013

'A bright light in our lives'

"No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."

There are many great things that have been said about Colleen in these past days. And it is all true. Colleen's gift was that of inspiration. She possessed an energetic intensity that is rarely seen. Her self-esteem, intelligence, drive and love of humanity affected everyone she met. She made people feel loved, comforted and optimistic. Colleen's grace made her life fulfilling. In such a short period of time, one person has made a world of difference.

"She was a great person, she was an amazing teacher." I have heard these words many times in these past few days. All describing a bright light in our lives who just wanted to make this world a better place by focusing on the adults of our future. Colleen's passion in life was to be a teacher. Her love for teaching started as early as her preschool class with Miss Laura. In the words of Miss Laura, "She was the most amazing person you could ever hope to meet ... so very blessed to have been her first teacher and fiend."

She had a way of leaving a lasting impression on her students. It is difficult to sum up all of the wonderful things her students have said and written. The common theme is that, "Ms. Ritzer has inspired all of us and was always positive. She lit up the room with her contagious smile and bright, loving personality." Some students even said that they didn't even like math until they had her as a teacher. Colleen made her classroom fun by incorporating inspirational quotes and pictures and saying things like, "Yay math! Yay proofs!" She was not just their teacher, but their mentor. You can see the effect she has had and how the community has bonded together to commemorate and celebrate Colleen's life.

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