7 from Andover win Ritzer Memorial Scholarships

Courtesy photoThe recipients of the Colleen Ritzer Scholarships this year are, from left: Katharine Leland, Alec Haffner, Grace Dunn, Mauve Gaffney, Kathleen Hartnett, Hope Joel and Jessica Shay.

The 2019 recipients of the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarships, awarded to graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in education at a four-year accredited college, have been announced.

The recipients are from Andover High School and Danvers High School. Each recipient demonstrated great promise through their high school endeavors from National Honor Societies to participating in extracurricular activities, doing community service such as Tomorrow’s Teachers, peer mentoring and not only playing, but coaching, the sports they love. The recipients will strive to carry on Colleen’s legacy as a caring and compassionate teacher. 

The recipients from AHS are Grace Dunn, Maeve Gaffney, Alec Haffner, Kathleen Hartnett, Hope Joel, Katharine Leland, and Jessica Shay. The recipients from Danvers are Alicia Cone, Shaelyn McGrath, and Timothy West.

This year, the Ritzer family awarded over $50,000 of scholarships in Colleen’s name, including $20,000 to 2019 graduating seniors and over $30,000 to previous years’ recipients. Since its inception in 2014, nearly $245,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 58 future teachers.

“With nearly 60 current and future teachers following in Colleen’s footsteps, we are in awe of how much Colleen’s legacy has grown in the past five and a half years,” the Ritzer family said in a statement. “Our family continues to be amazed by the support the Scholarship Fund and Colleen’s legacy receives. We are excited to watch each of the recipients grow and blossom as they lead their own classroom and inspire future generations, just as Colleen continues to do.”

The Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund is supported by donations made in the wake of Colleen’s passing in October 2013. An Andover native and AHS graduate in 2007, she was a young math teacher at Danvers High School when she was tragically killed at the school by a student.

The annual Step Up for Colleen 5K Walk/Run in Andover and other tribute events are fundraisers for her memorial scholarship fund. 

Applicants completed an application and were also required to submit a 500-word essay describing why they plan to pursue a degree in education and what, or who, inspired them to do so. The last piece of the application encouraged applicants to reflect on words shared by Colleen in her college essay in which she wrote:

“Teachers have been an inspiration to me ever since I was just a young girl. Starting in pre-school, I knew I loved helping the teachers and would one day want to be just like them. My dream is to become a teacher, one who shapes the minds and lives of children. My goal has always been to become a teacher that will impact students’ lives.”

Learn more about each of this year’s recipients at https://colleenritzerscholarship.com/2019-recipients/.

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