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2016 Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients Strengthen Passion for Education

A year and a half into their college journey, the 2016 Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Scholarship recipients are declaring majors, beginning field work and discovering more about themselves. Each day their passion for teaching and impacting future generations strengthens.

Rachel Drew, a sophomore at Boston College, has declared a major in Elementary Education and Biology and has begun assisting in a K2 SEI classroom in Brighton, Massachusetts. She greatly enjoyed her time in the classroom and her love of teaching continues to grow.

“All of the students were absolutely wonderful, and they welcomed me into the classroom very wholeheartedly,” said Drew. “It was an absolutely amazing experience, and it has definitely helped me to continuously reaffirm my decision to become a teacher.”

Drew shared her appreciation and thoughts with the donors of the scholarship fund.

“I think that the supporters of the scholarship fund should view this as not only an opportunity to provide students support in pursuing higher education, but also an opportunity to help construct our future generation of students, of learners, and of members of our society,” Drew shared. “You are not only helping to create a teacher, but you are helping to form classrooms full of successful students that will be part of our communities one day.”

At Springfield College, Maddy Reppucci has shifted her focus from Elementary Education and Special Education to Secondary Education and History. She is also a member of the Army ROTC and has considered serving in the U.S. Armed Forces prior to teaching. Through her classes this fall, Reppucci has been inspired to make a difference.

Reppucci spoke on the impact the scholarship fund has had on her.

“It’s truly amazing to be a part of this family and I am so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to make a difference as a teacher and to carry on Colleen’s legacy.” Reppucci discussed. “I appreciate all the support that this scholarship has given me and every day I feel inspired and motivated to do whatever I can to become the best teacher possible someday.”

Lillie Hodgkins, a junior at Assumption College, will pursue a career in Human Services and Rehabilitation with a concentration in Speech Pathology in an elementary school setting. She has expanded her horizons in this field and hopes to one day help young children.

“I will still be helping students in an elementary school setting, but this will be one on one and guided towards specific student needs rather than the overall setting,” Hodgkins explained. “…I hope to help young children progress in the same way I once was.”

Also studying at Assumption, Kristen McCarthy will major in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics. Through her classes, McCarthy planned her first lesson plan and worked with local Worcester fifth graders, which deepened her dedication and passion towards teaching.

“We each had three students that we were able to teach different focuses of biology to,” McCarthy said. “I found this experience to be very rewarding and motivating as we knew that this was our future. The students were so excited to learn and to be at a college.”

Lindsay Richard, studying at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, will begin taking classes with a field work component next semester, but her current classes have allowed her to realize her excitement to work with students in the future.

Richard shared her appreciation for the supporters of the scholarship.

“I am beyond thankful to the supporters of the scholarship fund,” Richard said. “The scholarship allows for many teachers-to-be to pursue their dreams while honoring a wonderful cause.”

Erica Taft, a sophomore at Tulane University, has spent the past year interning at the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center, and will begin a new internship at the Tulane Parenting Education Program next semester. With a major in Political Science and Social Policy and Practice, Taft remains passionate about education and child welfare policy.

Taft expressed her sincerity to the scholarship fund and its supporters.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue my studies in honor of Ms. Ritzer,” Taft explained. “To this day, she is one of my favorite teachers and I strive to radiate positivity and kindness every day as she did in our classroom.”