Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

November 28, 2013

A show of pink support

Teacher's memory to be front and center at Feaster Five, football game

By Judy Wakefield

---- — There’s typically a sea of blue and gold Warrior pride at Andover High School’s pep rally the day before the big Thanksgiving game against archrival Central Catholic.

And, Andover’s school colors typically are front and center Thanksgiving morning at the annual Feaster Five road race that sees thousands of local residents taking to the course through town.

But this year, pink may just overshadow the blue and gold at both events.

Hundreds of pink T-shirts have been sold at Andover High School over the past two weeks in memory of Colleen Ritzer, the 2007 Andover High School graduate who was allegedly killed by one of her 14-year-old students at Danvers High School last month.

“It’s different this year. It will be a sea of pink ... we want to honor her,” said Andover High School senior Alexa Baldwin, whose Democracy and Media Literature class is among those selling the shirts.

Ritzer is remembered fondly by many at Andover High, where her younger sister, Laura, is a senior and plays hockey and her younger brother, Daniel, graduated from in 2011

People plan to wear the T-shirts along the Feaster Five race route as well as to the pep rally and Thanksgiving day football game as a way to show support for the Ritzer family, who attend St. Augustine’s Church in Andover.

The pink hue is a nod to Ritzer’s favorite color.

The front of the shirts simply say “Remembering Ritzer.” The back features the dates of her life and one of her favorite quotes that she shared in Twitter in August: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

The T-shirts are being sold for $10 to students, teachers and community members. Proceeds will go to fund a scholarship in Ritzer’s memory to support a high school graduate who wants to be a teacher.

The T-shirts grew out of an idea by Andover High School teachers Mary Robb and Dan Brennan. Robb introduced it to her Democracy and Media Literature class and the students embraced it.

Senior Nick Wall said he will wear his T-shirt to Wednesday’s football pep rally and again when he runs the Feaster Five race Thursday morning.

“We just want to show our support to the family and this shows support,” he said.

Fellow senior Ian Bensleyser added Ritzer’s death touched many and is something “we care about.”

Robb said students in three different classes have been selling the T-shirts in the school cafeteria since Nov. 12. In addition to Robb’s class, students in a Democracy and Media Literacy class taught by Ruth Masters and an applied technology class taught by Brennan have also sold the shirts.

“We have sold hundreds ... we don’t know exactly how many ... I just put another order in,” Robb said.