The first recipients of a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship awarded to graduating seniors who plan to pursue education as a major in college have been announced.
Ritzer's parents, Tom and Peggie, and her siblings, Dan and Laura, presented the scholarship winners Wednesday night at the Danvers High School Senior Reception
The Danvers High awardees, who, like Ritzer, demonstrate a passion for teaching and academic excellence and possess a great love of family, include Catherine J. Lamoly, Samantha L. Walters, Mary E. Leahy, Andrea M. Lang, Lily M. Cuzner and Sarah E. Mountain. The scholarships range from $1,500 to $2,500, for a total of $12,000.
In addition, the Danvers High School class of 2014 dedicated its yearbook in honor of Ritzer. The two-page spread includes photos and tributes to the slain math teacher.
Andover High's scholarship recipients will be announced at Monday's graduation ceremony at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.
The scholarship fund is supported by individual donations that were made in the wake of Ritzer's death last October as well as the Step Up for Colleen Ritzer 5K in Andover in May and other tribute events held to honor her memory. The scholarship fund is a permanent tribute to Ritzer and builds on her legacy by helping future teachers obtain a college degree so that they too can share their passion for teaching with future students.
A former Danvers High student has been charged with Ritzer's murder.
The individuals selected for a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship will assist individuals who — like Colleen — discovered early in life their passion for teaching," the Ritzer family said in a release. We cannot begin to express our sincere gratitude to the many individuals and organizations, near and far, who selflessly gave to support the scholarship fund that is creating Colleen's legacy: a new generation of caring, passionate teachers driven to inspire and help their students’ succeed. We wish all of the scholarship recipients the very best in this next, exciting phase of their lives.”