CHEERS to thousands of regional walkers and runner who turned out Sunday in Andover to honor the memory of murdered teacher Colleen Ritzer.
Some 4,000 walkers and runners participated in the first “Step Up for Colleen 5K” memorial road race. Proceeds from the event will go to a scholarship fund in the Assumption College graduate’s memory. The fund will be used to support aspiring teachers.
Ritzer, 24, was a math teacher at Danvers High. She was killed Oct. 22; police have charged her student, 15-year-old Philip Chism, with her murder.
Many of those who turned out for the event are themselves teachers.
“She was just an amazing person and an amazing math teacher,” Amy Keough, a first-grade teacher in Stow who knew Ritzer, told reporter Jill Harmacinski. Ritzer had taught briefly in Stow and Keough’s daughter had her as a teacher.
High school students from Central Catholic, Andover, North Andover, Methuen and other schools also participated in the race. Danvers High School’s a cappella group sang for the racers as they waited and then sang the National Anthem at the race’s start.
“We are very proud of Colleen and continue to be amazed at the number of lives she touched,” Colleen’s father, Thomas Ritzer, said, thanking all racers for their participation.
The turnout for the race was indeed impressive and a fitting tribute to the impact Colleen Ritzer had on others during her too-short life. Well done to all who participated.
CHEERS to those in our local communities who volunteered to help clean up their cities and towns.
In Lawrence Saturday, some 2,000 volunteers, many of them teenagers, turned out for the fifth annual Earth Day/Comcast Cares clean-up effort. Among them was 18-year-old Tomas Lopez.
“It’s important to have clean open spaces. The city needs to be more than just big buildings,” he told reporter Sara Brown.