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2015 Recipients Apply Themselves in the Classroom and the Field

In their third year of college, the 2015 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship recipients are exposed to more hands-on classroom experience, while staying active in the community.

Casey Flanigan, a junior at Saint Anselm College, has spent time in the classroom, abroad in Ireland and participating in community service trips. Through these experiences, her passion for education has grown and she affirmed her dream to teach at the middle school level

“My first clinical experience definitely reaffirmed my interest in teaching,” Flanigan said. “Being in the classroom always puts a smile on my face and I just love that feeling.”

Flanigan expressed her gratitude to the donors of the scholarship fund for their support of her education.

“Thank you so much to the supporters of the scholarship fund,” Flanigan expressed. “You are all absolutely incredible, and continue to make an impact on my education and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity in getting to continue Colleen’s legacy.”

At Smith College, Meghan Johnson is gaining more hands-on experience and beginning to see her impact on the students’ lives. During a pre-practicum, Johnson spent time working one-on-one with students.

“There is something amazing about witnessing a lightbulb moment for a student,” Johnson said. “I want to create an environment in my classroom where there will be lightbulb moments every day!”

Katherine Rex has volunteered in local elementary schools and assisted in a toddler classroom at the Child Study and Development Center at the University of New Hampshire. Her experiences during her life and in the field have strongly reaffirmed her desire to pursue a career in education.

“I want to make a difference in people’s lives, just like my teachers did for me,” Rex explained. “I know what it’s like to struggle with a disability, so I am able to relate to students, especially those who struggle. I love working with children and can’t wait to have my own class!”

Sarah Rothmann, a junior at Bates College, has found her passion for elementary education after assisting in a first grade classroom in Lewiston, Maine. She has begun to see the rewards that come along with teaching, which is inspiring to her.

“It was really rewarding to know that I am making a difference in a student’s life,” Rothmann discussed. “I love reading and I love it when I am able to help students see the beauty of reading as well. It is moments like these that inspire me to want to be a teacher.”

In Rhode Island at Providence College, Rebecca Hardenstine has gained greater knowledge after assisting in a third grade class. Hardenstine has dreamed of being an elementary school teacher since she was fourth grade and her time in the classroom has strengthened that dream.

“[The students] enthusiasm and genuine love for learning was infectious, and I loved every minute of it,” Hardenstine said. “I know that there will be speed bumps along the way and that each day will have its difficulties, but helping students learn is truly amazing.”

At Boston College, Haley O’Shea has increased her desire to teach through working as a teacher’s aide over the summers and assisting at an inner-city high school in Boston. Students succeeding and learning has provided eye-opening experiences for O’Shea.

“Through my experiences, I have learned that teaching is an incredibly challenging but incredibly rewarding career,” O’Shea explained. “Seeing a student’s eyes light up when something in their brain clicks, or seeing their passion come through in their writing is the most incredible experience. It makes me so proud of them, and I couldn’t think of a better feeling.”

O’Shea also expressed her appreciation for the support of the scholarship fund and its donors.

“Your generosity has made a tremendous difference in my life, not only financially, but also in the sense that I feel incredibly blessed to carry on Ms. Ritzer’s legacy,” O’Shea said. “That’s the biggest blessing of all.”

Jenna Romano, a junior at Roger Williams University, is the club officer for Future Teachers of America at her school, in addition to assisting in a first grade classroom in Providence, Rhode Island. As an involved and dedicated student and teacher, Romano has gained further insight to how she hopes to structure her class in the future.

“I am determined to create a safe and effective learning environment for all of my students one day and I am passionate about teaching students and providing them with the tools to become successful learners,” Romano discussed. “I want to make a difference and be there for the students who need me.

To the supporters of the scholarship fund, Romano shared her gratitude.

“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to receive this scholarship,” Romano said. “Thank you for allowing me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher!”