Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


April 24, 2014

'She knew how to lift spirits'

Remembering a great listener, confidante and best friend


There’s a lot Berger misses about her best friend — including their girls nights when they just hung out, laughing and eating junk food. She said the two knew each other so well that finishing each other’s sentences happened a lot because each always knew what the other was thinking.

“I miss our long walks, because Colleen was a great listener, the best listener I have ever known, and she never judged,” Berger said. “I could tell her anything and get it all out.”

Berger sad she has no plans to attend the trial of now 15-year-old Philip Chism who is charged with the murder of Ritzer, his math teacher, at Danvers High School. But she has her opinions of the case.

“I trust the justice system. .... I know he’s just a kid, but, yes, he should be tried as an adult. He chose to do what he did and he could have chose not to do it,” she said.

But Berger said she prefers to focus on the positives in the aftermath of the horrible tragedy. She said the Step Up for Colleen memorial 5K honoring Ritzer on May 4 is a great example of how people are remembering her best friend.

“It’s so great to see the support,” she said. “It’s another reminder of Colleen and I hope she is always remembered.”

The night before Step Up for Colleen, Berger said a group of Ritzer’s friends will meet up and most likely have dinner in Newburyport, as Ritzer enjoyed that seaside city. She imagines they will laugh and cry a lot as they share stories of their friend and her life that ended much too early.

A sad reason to gather, for sure. But the group will work hard to stay positive as Ritzer would want that, Berger said.

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