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Family of slain teacher announces scholarship winners

The family of Colleen E. Ritzer, the Danvers High School math teacher slain in October, announced the first recipients of a scholarship in her memory on Friday.

Six students were awarded the scholarship, which varied in value from $1,500 to $2,500 each , on Wednesday night at the Danvers High senior reception. Additional recipients from Andover High School, where Ritzer lived, will be announced on Monday, the family said in a statement.

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“Each day, through her sincere enthusiasm and passion, Colleen shared her love of teaching and math with her students,” the Ritzer family said. “The individuals selected for a Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship will assist individuals who -- like Colleen -- discovered early in life their passion for teaching.”

In their applications for the award, students were asked to reflect on Ritzer’s college essay. At the time, she wrote, “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.”

Samantha L. Walters, one of the six winners, said in the statement, “Ms. Ritzer cared a lot about her students. No matter how many times kids complained about the materials we learned in our Algebra 2 class, there was never a dull moment because she knew how to keep the kids happy.”

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The other students awarded were Catherine J. Lamoly, Mary E. Leahy, Andrea M. Lang, Lily M. Cuzner, and Sarah E. Mountain.

Ritzer’s family, teachers from Danvers and Nashoba Regional High School, and an Andover High School guidance counselor selected the scholarship winners.

Money was collected for the scholarship through donations and at a 5K road race held in Ritzer’s memory, the statement said.

Ritzer was allegedly attacked and killed by one of her students, Philip D. Chism, in October of last year.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.
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