Congratulations to the recipients of a Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship. Please click on the following links to learn more about the individuals selected for this special honor.

2017 Recipients



Andover High School

Andover High School Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients

Grayson Beherrell will attend Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts this fall where she plans to pursue a degree in elementary education and special education. During her four years at Andover High School, Beherrell was a member of the Red Cross Club and Sophomore Board; volunteered at Lazarus House; danced at the North Reading School of Ballet; worked at the YMCA Camp of Maine as a leader in training and program assistant; and dedicated time each week to care for a special needs child.

“Simply put, the world needs more Grayson Beherrell’s. She exudes kindness and cares deeply about others” stated her guidance counselor. “Grayson is as selfless as they come. Andover High School is often a ‘pressure cooker’ type of environment and Grayson’s calming presence puts people at ease. She will undoubtedly spread compassion and acceptance.” Beherrell worked with adaptive students in the physical education setting, inspiring her to pursue a career in education.

“During that semester, I learned the little important things about each of the students and created a relationship with them that I treasured,” wrote Beherrell in her essay. “A few months into the semester and I can see how far they have come in such a short time. It gives me a sense of success that I was able to be part of that progress! In my career, whether in a classroom with elementary students or adaptive students, I will be able to help them all learn, grow and become kind independent individuals.”

Andover High School Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients

Caileigh Reming will attend the University of New Hampshire to pursue a degree in human development and family studies with aspirations to become a special education teacher at the elementary school level. In high school, Reming demonstrated many leadership roles including: assisting children at Frost Elementary School in Lawrence; participating as a student-athlete representative in Warrior Way; field hockey and lacrosse captain; coach and counselor at Hooptown; serving as an assistant helper at Oliver Partnership School; and as an Andover Youth Services youth lacrosse coach.

From a young age Caileigh wanted to be a teacher. “I had a teaching room set up in my playroom and would have a white board and worksheets that I would hand out to my imaginary kids,” she wrote in her application essay.

“What inspired me to be interested in teaching, specifically special education, is as a kid I was placed on an IEP with a communication disorder and needing improvement in reading comprehension. When I was younger and going to separate rooms for extra help, I was always embarrassed and would be asked by other kids why I was going to another room,” Reming added. “As much as I hated going into a separate room and getting extra help, I simply would not be the person I am today. All the teachers who helped me have inspired me to become what they are,” she continued.

Andover High School Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients

Samantha Shea will attend Assumption College, where she hopes to pursue a career in elementary education or special education. While at Andover High School, Shea took part in many extracurricular activities including: Andover Middle School Track assistant coach; student-athlete representative of the Warrior Way Program; Vacation Bible School counselor; Indoor and Fall Field Hockey Youth assistant coach; and a field hockey and track team member.

Shea’s guidance counselor spoke highly of her sharing, “Her energy and spirit and intelligence have made her a great coach and will make her a great educator in the future. Sammy is comfortable in her own skin and possesses an optimal blend of confidence and humility.”

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, mostly because I love children,” wrote Shea. “As an elementary school teacher, I want to be able to help students identify and accept their learning styles early to help them avoid self-doubt and learn to advocate for themselves,” Shea explained in her scholarship essay. “I want them to understand that everyone learns differently, and that there isn’t one right way.”

Andover High School Colleen Ritzer Scholarship Recipients

Michaela Verrette will attend Plymouth State University to major in elementary education with the hope of developing key tools for connecting with students and gaining their trust. Verrette had a number of responsibilities during her four years at Andover High School through caring for her mother who was seriously ill; performing in the Show Choir, as Vice President for two years; waitressing; serving as a substitute teacher at Bright Horizons; and as a peer mentor who assisted with intellectually challenged children.

Verrette is described as “self-driven, highly motivated, compassionate, musical and simply one of the nicest students I know” by her guidance counselor.

“Mrs. Stone was my second-grade teacher and I aspire to be her. Every single day of second grade began with smiles and laughter,” explained Verrette. “My students will know that their teacher cares about them. I will teach them the academics but I will teach them life lessons as well. My students will know that there is someone who will always be there for them and care for them. Being an elementary educator will allow me to begin to shape the lives of our future generations.”

Danvers High School

Kylie McDonough will attend Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall to pursue a career in elementary education and special education. McDonough has obtained immense leadership experience including: secretary of Best Buddies; co-founder of Women of the World Club and broadcast station “Falcons Nest for News;” writer for the school newspaper; and more. She received academic honors every year and also volunteered for various organizations.

“My traits of being known as a positive, friendly, caring person, passionate about Best Buddies and being inclusive to people with disabilities assures that I have the mindset of a teacher. As a future elementary school teacher my dream is to spread happiness to students as I teach a new generation the importance of kindness,” explained McDonough in her essay. “In my professional career I hope to become a role model and emulate the characteristics of my most beloved teachers who demonstrated unconditional compassion.”

Kristin McNichol will attend Salem State University hoping to major in elementary education. Her extra-curricular activities include: waitressing at Brooksby Village; gymnastics team manager; member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club; and member of the World Language National Honor Society (WLNHS).

McNichol’s guidance counselor describes her as “dedicated herself to academics, athletics, work, and volunteering,” and continued to speak highly of her, “I am confident she will become a highly skilled and impactful teacher.”

“Since my adolescence, I have never thought twice about wanting to become a teacher. Pursuing a career in education means I would be able to instill a love for learning for the next generation of children,” wrote McNichol in her essay. “Ms. Ritzer allowed her students to experience an environment that encouraged them to grow and be better each and every day. Her passion was heartfelt and I hope that I can be as influential to my students as she was to me. I want to continue Ms. Ritzer’s legacy by sharing my love for learning to my future students just like she did.”

Megan O’Leary will attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, where she plans to work toward a degree in education. She hopes to gain experience in the classroom, discover new passions and develop new skills. During her time at Danvers High School, she participated in various activities including: Ingrid Sound: A Cappella as a bass singer; Mixed Chorus as an alto singer; Academy Theatre as an actress and student director; Tomorrow’s Teachers and Danvers Cares Youth Leadership as a member; and Stiles Pond Day Camp as a Junior Camp Counselor.

“Colleen Ritzer was a teacher that I will always model myself after. She had a relatable and gentle way about her. One of the most inspiring things about Ms. Ritzer was her determination to teach every child; she had the mindset that every child has the ability to learn,” mentioned O’Leary in her essay. “I respect and admire this philosophy greatly because I myself believe with different approaches and tools, every single child is able to learn and grow. It is teachers such as Colleen Ritzer who have inspired me to become the great educator that she proved exists.”

Stephany Pallazolla plans to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst to major in elementary education with the hope of working towards her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. She believes educating others is her calling, and will do everything she needs to become the teacher she can for her students. Pallazolla’s extra-curricular involvement includes: DHS Academy Theater as a member of the student board; Tomorrow’s Teacher Club; working as a cashier and in customer service; National English Honor Society; World Language National Honor Society; and Danvers Performing Arts Project Volunteer.

“Stephany has found great meaning within DHS Tomorrow’s Teachers program. This ‘work’ has become her passion, and Stephany has found her true calling in life. She is able to connect with the students through activities and games, and finds great meaning by creating happiness for others,” wrote Pallazolla’s guidance counselor in a recommendation letter.

“Pursuing a career in education would mean that I get to fulfill my dreams and do what I love most: teaching children and exciting them about learning new things,” explained Pallazolla in her essay. “Much like Ms. Ritzer, being a teacher is my dream, and I believe that my passionate and caring attitude will allow me to become a teacher who will make an impact. By being a teacher, I know I will make my mark on this Earth and make a difference to others. Ms. Ritzer inspires me to leave behind a legacy, and being an inspirational and dedicated elementary school teacher is the legacy I will leave behind.”

Kaitlyn Sullivan will attend Endicott College to pursue a degree in education, which she would like to follow with a Master’s Degree in teaching. She hopes through the various internships required at the College she will gain the exposure and experience that will allow her to have her own classroom teaching first grade within a year or two following her college graduation. Sullivan has gained responsibility and leadership through various activities including: working as a sales associate at a clothing store; Tomorrow’s Teachers; Yearbook Club; Book Club; Art National Honor Society; World Language National Honor Society; playing tennis and more.

Sullivan’s high school guidance counselor described her as “a self-motivated, intuitive student who has continually excelled in every area of the curriculum.” “Kaitlyn is devoted to all that she commits to, and gives 110 percent. Empathetic and always cheerful, she believes that what you reflect will be embraced by those around you,” continued her guidance counselor.

As a result of a teaching class Kaitlyn took as a senior, she stated: “I think the thing that I loved most about teaching is seeing the student’s excitement when they would raise their hand and

confidently answer the question.” She continued in her essay, “I want to pursue a field in education because I think that it is so rewarding to see kids learn, and to see them grow. I love knowing that I will have shaped them into the person that they are. I honestly couldn’t think of anything more rewarding than being with children and watching them grow as individuals.”

2016 Recipients




Andover High School

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Rachel Drew will attend Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts this fall where she will pursue a degree in elementary education. During her four years of high school, Drew served in a number of leadership roles such as President of Students to Students Mentoring; volunteer at Lawrence General Hospital; St. Augustine Parish Family Social, leader of programs and volunteers; Andover High Student Ambassador; Cradles to Crayons, member; and competed on the track and field and freshman soccer teams. She also worked at Acting Out! Theatre Company and was a member of the National Honor Society.

“Ever since I was little, I can remember playing ‘school’ with my brothers in front of the large blackboard in our playroom,” explained Drew in her scholarship essay. In her job Rachel teaches children dance. “The joy that I receive every time I get to watch a kid understand a dance move or tackle something they had doubted they could do is the most wonderful feeling. To have parents tell me that I’ve made a difference in their child is irreplaceable. I want to be able to look back on my future career as an educator and know that I made that little girl, in her pink sundress, standing in front of the blackboard, with a messy, slanted alphabet behind her, incredibly proud of the teacher she had always dreamed she could be.”

During high school, Drew was honored with a number of awards. She received high honors each of her four years and was also the recipient of the Excellence in Spanish Conversation and Excellence in Dominant Ideas Awards.

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Maddy Reppucci has been accepted to Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts where she will pursue a degree in elementary or special education and join the Army’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) given a strong desire to serve her country. Reppucci’s list of extra-curricular activities is extensive. She was a member of the girls’ volleyball team and served as manager for the boys’ team. Reppucci served as a Special Ed Sports Instructor for Beyond Tops Buddy; Videographer for Warrior Way; cared for her siblings; and worked at Perfectos.

The Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 Coaches Association recognized Reppucci as an All- Conference Player in 2014 and 2015; All-State Player in the same years; and named her to the All-Star team also in 2014 and 2015. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald both named her to the 2015 All Scholastic Team.

“From a young age, I have wanted to become a teacher,” wrote Reppucci in her scholarship essay. “I loved the idea of being able to help students grow every day to become their own individuals. I feel a great responsibility to set a good example and I always try hard to show them the importance of being a good student. I hope that someday I can inspire kids as well and leave behind the same legacy as Colleen did for her students. Always be good to others and others will want to do the same.”

Danvers High School

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Lillie Hodgkins will attend Assumption College, Colleen Ritzer’s alma mater this fall where she will pursue a degree in education with a minor in special education. Hodgkins led a busy schedule while in high school as a member of Tomorrow’s Teachers, Best Buddies and DECA. She was manager for the volleyball team and played on the lacrosse team.

“All of my life I have been inspired by my teachers,” shared Hodgkins in her essay. “Whether it’s the way they help me when I don’t understand something, or by recognizing my insecurities and being someone I am comfortable telling anything to, they have all impacted my future. I believe teaching is one of the most stressful and exhausting, yet rewarding, jobs there can be and I cannot wait to begin.”

Hodgkins was a member of the World Language National Honor Society, the Art National Honor Society and was named to the Honor Roll in each of her four years at Danvers High School. She was also a state qualifier at a DECA marketing competition.

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Kristen McCarthy will also attend Assumption College, where she will major in elementary education and mathematics and play on the field hockey team.

“Through teaching, you can inspire but you can learn more from your students,” explained McCarthy in her essay. “Children can teach you more things about your own self than you knew existed. I want to become the teacher that everyone loves and looks forward to seeing, but also the one who teaches and leaves a lasting mark on her students, just as Ms. Ritzer did for her students. Ms. Ritzer will forever be the teacher I aspire to be. I would be lucky to become even half the teacher she was.”

McCarthy held leadership positions on the field hockey, hockey and lacrosse teams. She was secretary of the National Honor Society and participated in DECA, an association of marketing students. McCarthy is a member of Tomorrow’s Teachers and was a co-president of the Book Club.

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Lindsay Richard will attend the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire in pursuit of a degree in secondary special education with a goal of becoming an English teacher. At Danvers High School, Richard was a member of the National Honor Society, the Chamber Singers and selected to be the student director of Ingrid Sound a Capella, the schools all-female a cappella group. She also was a co-teacher at her church.

“Several people have inspired me in wanting to obtain a degree in education,” wrote Richard in her essay. “My choral director is a wonderful person, and he is a daily reminder of how much of an effect a teacher can have on their students. My degree in education will enable me to pursue this dream of being able to help others and have a valuable impact on the lives of others.”

Richard was recognized for her musical talents with the Ingrid Sound a Capella’s Director’s Award. She was also selected to the Northeast Junior District Chorus as a freshman and the Northeast Senior District chorus as a sophomore.

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Eileen Vandewalle will attend the University of Massachusetts – Amherst where she will major in elementary education with a goal of also obtaining certification in special education.

Vandewalle’s extra-curricular activities include a soloist with the a capella group Falconize; actress with Danvers High School Theatre; volunteer with the Northeast ARC; singer with the Northeast District Choir   and member of the Danvers High Student Board, National Honor Society, World Language Honors Society and Volleyball Club.

“I believe that helping and caring for others in this world is something one should always try to do,” wrote Vandewalle in her essay. “In teaching children, I will be given a way to help enrich and positively influence future generations, and I will be able to express my overwhelming care for children and their individual needs. To be a teacher is to dedicate yourself to helping and being good to people, and that is the legacy I want to leave behind.”

Her impressive list of recognitions include All-Star acting awards; the Danvers Choral Collaborative’s Director’s Award; Danvers High Best Actress awards; and outstanding achievement in chorus.

Nashoba Regional High School

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Anna R. Fateiger will attend Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts this fall where she will major in mathematics with a minor in secondary education and statistics. Fateiger participated in a number of extra-curricular activities during high school including: religious education teacher; Drama Club; National Honor Society; Dance Team; Club for a Cause where she raised money for malaria nets in impoverished countries; and volunteered as a counselor in training at a summer camp.

“Whenever I say I am planning on majoring in education, most people’s follow-up question is ‘to teach what?’ and the look on people’s faces when I say that I want to teach high school math is what can only be described as looks of horror mixed with impress,” wrote Fateiger in her essay. “I want to help children and teenagers gain a love for learning and I want to encourage them to dream big and to not hold back. I strive to become a teacher that makes kids want to learn and see their true potential.”

Fateiger was recognized with a number of awards from the dance team and as a recipient of the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship.

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Erica Taft will attend Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she will “delve into discovering my passions through means of policy, leadership, education or some combination of the three.”

Taft led a very busy schedule outside of high school. She was a member and President of the National Honors Society; played on the field hockey and lacrosse teams; worked at Kids-A-Lot Daycare; and hiked the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont. She also served as a Celiac Support Group Board Member at Boston Children’s Hospital and led her youth group at her church.

“Ms. Ritzer was one of the best teachers I had ever had,” said Taft in her scholarship essay. “I think of how her smile never faltered, because she was doing what she loved, and I want to find my passion like she did. I like to think that I am carrying on the caring nature Ms. Ritzer instilled in me.”

Taft has received a number of awards including one for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience, Outstanding Contributor towards Sportsmanship, Leadership & Athletic Achievement and an award from the Collings Foundation for demonstrated leadership.

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Alica V. Torres will attend Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts where she will major in special education. Throughout high school, Torres engaged in a number of different activities such as caring for a cancer survivor; daycare volunteer; caring for a special needs individual; editor of the student newspaper; member of Best Buddies where she worked with disabled students in her school; and also plays the guitar.

“As someone who wants a similar career, Ms. Ritzer not only served as a teacher and a friend to me but also acted as a role model,” said Torres. “I looked up to her with great admiration, seeing how much she loved her job and the friendships she made with her students. She always had a smile when I walked into her classroom and created an environment that was fun and enjoyable for all of us. To this day, I am so incredibly thankful to have had a teacher, a friend, and an inspiration like Ms. Ritzer. She has not only encouraged me to pursue an educational career, but she continues to remind me to be a good person. Her legacy will stay with me as I start this new chapter in my life and I hope to be making the same impact on my students as she did for me.”

Torres earned Honors her freshman year and High Honors for her remaining years at Nashoba Regional High School.

2015 Recipients




Andover High School


Casey Flanigan will attend Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire where she will pursue a degree in secondary education with a concentration in math. During all four years of high school, she was a member of Phoenix Swimming and the Andover High School swim and dive team. Those organizations which Flanigan volunteered her time include Birthday Wishes; Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Merrimack Valley; Frost School; and Special Olympics.

“I expect that after spending four years in college, I will be well-prepared to take the next step and become a teacher,” said Flanigan in her scholarship essay. “I want to be able to look back on college and know that it helped me become the best version of myself. I also hope that I can learn things in college that will help me be a good mentor and role model for future students. I have always looked up to my teachers, and hope that I will learn those skills necessary to do so in the next four years.”

Flanigan was recognized with the Coach’s Award from Phoenix Swimming.


Meghan Johnson will attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts where she will pursue a dual degree in education and math. During high school, she was a volunteer, or intern, for Andover High School Sustainable Garden Project; Camp Runels; Girl Scouts; and New Horizons for Youth. She was also a member of the Girls Varsity Ice Hockey and Ultimate Frisbee teams.      

“Someday, I hope to be a great teacher like Colleen and become a leader in education reform to make school a more positive and enriching place for students,” said Johnson in her scholarship application. “Because of Smith’s open curriculum, I have to take half of my classes outside of my majors, math and education. These outside classes will prepare me to promote a positive learning environment for my students, as I will be able to have intelligent conversations across subject lines with my students in and out of the classroom.”

Johnson was recognized with the following awards: Excellence in Math 4; High Honor Roll; K-12 Gold Award and Most Athletic and Fun to Work With.


Katherine Rex will attend the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire where she has declared majors in elementary and special education with aspirations to become a kindergarten teacher. Rex’s lengthy list of volunteer service includes cheerleading coach; church mission trip; Lazarus House; peer mentor; St. Augustine School; and Warrior Way.

“Making a difference in the lives of others has always been important to me,” said Rex in her scholarship essay. “I always knew I wanted to do something to make a difference in the world. I am so excited to see what the next four years brings me. Becoming a teacher has always been my dream and now is that chance to begin that dream.”

In addition to babysitting her cousins at no charge for many days after school, Rex was recognized with the Deidre Ann Didio Memorial Spirit Award; High Honor Roll; and Excellence in Biology Award.


Sarah Rothmann will attend Bates College in Lewiston, Maine this fall where she will pursue a degree in education. At Andover High, Rothmann was a star athlete of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams. Her volunteer endeavors include service with the EXCEL Program, Healthy Kids Running Organization, student-resident mentor, Religious Education teacher and Warrior Way leader.

“I am inspired by Colleen’s dream to become a teacher ‘one who shapes the minds and lives of children’ and will use these words as my motivation to enlighten the lives of my siblings and all students around me,” said Rothmann, the second oldest of seven children, in her scholarship application.  “Wherever I may end up, whether I am teaching abroad in a foreign country or teaching at the local elementary school across the street, my goal will be to serve as both a role model and mentor to my students and help them become driven and hardworking individuals who strive to accomplish their lifelong goals and endeavors.”

Rothmann received a number of recognitions for her academic pursuits. These include: Bates Scholarship; Excellence in English, Excellence in French I, II and V; Excellence in Masterpieces of British Literature; Excellence in Modern American Literature; High Honor Roll; and National Honor Society.

Danvers High School


William Carleton Jr. will attend the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. this fall where he will major in music with career aspirations to teach that subject. Carleton participated in a number of extra-curricular activities during his high school years including: cast and crew member for school musicals; Boy Scout troop guide; music director for the school’s A Capella group; and was a member of the football, swim, golf and math teams. He also served as a bass singer in the MMEA Northeast Senior District Choir.

“Math may not be everyone’s favorite subject, but I found it as an entertaining puzzle,” Carleton wrote in his essay. “When I had Ms. Ritzer, she would always find a theme for every chapter’s title slide. For example, chapter one would be puppies and chapter two could be autumn trees. It was something that made the classroom relaxing, and easier to concentrate in.”

Carleton has earned a number of impressive recognitions, some of which include: All-State Choir Recommendations; Eagle Scout, Honors Student; Up and Coming for Choir Award and the Swimming Determination Award.

“…I met up with her (Ms. Ritzer) and told her that I was looking to pursue a teaching career in music,” Carleton added. “Impressed and excited, she offered me the chance to come by during one of her freshmen classes and teach simple algebraic equations, such as the Distributive Property or the Pythagorean Theorem.  She was truly a teacher dedicated to every student’s success; she is a teacher I want to be like.”


Rebecca Hardenstine will attend Providence College in Providence, R.I. where she will pursue a dual elementary/ special education degree to prepare herself to “help all of my students to the best of my ability.” Hardenstine’s lengthy list of community engagement includes CCD teacher; Danvers Library page; Girl Scout; Homework Club volunteer; Global Activism vice-president; and Tomorrow’s Teachers volunteer. She is a member of the Danvers Marching Band and held leadership positions in the National English Honor Society, National Honor Society and World Language Honor Society. She also leads Bible Study for Courage.

“I do not believe I can become the best teacher I can be by just reading books and being in classrooms,” Hardenstine shared in her application essay. “In order for me to be the dynamic teacher I want to become, it is important for me to have a meaningful life. And having a meaningful life means growing spiritually, making a difference in my community, and having a career that I love.”

Her volunteer and academic accomplishments have been recognized with the College Board AP Scholar Award; Danvers High School Outstanding Student Award; Dartmouth College Book Award; Girls Scouts’ Gold Award; and was recognized with a Certificate of Academic Excellence by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. Hardenstine was also a member of the President’s Education Award Program.

In preparation for her future classroom, Hardenstine has already begun to gather a “collection of supplies, posters and books…given to me by retiring teachers who wanted to pass on the legacy.”


Haley O’Shea will enroll at Boston College as a member of the class of 2019 where she will study to become a high school English teacher. O’Shea’s high school involvement includes National Honor Society; National English Honor Society; school committee; school council; Senior Center Volunteer; Student Bible Study; Tomorrow’s Teacher’s, World Language Honor Society; Yearbook; and member of the softball team.

“At an early age, my love for learning and my desire to help others caused me to decide that someday I would want to help children discover who they want to be, just as my teachers have helped me,” O’Shea wrote in her application essay. “Ms. Ritzer has taught me that ‘being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind’ and has reminded me to be kind to all whom I meet. My teachers have shaped me into the person I am today – a kind, courageous individual. They are the reason that I, too, wish to become a teacher someday. I want to be a teacher to inspire others to stand up for what they believe in.”

O’Shea was awarded the Danvers Girls’ Softball Sportsmanship Award; Danvers High School AP European History and Biology Award; the Book Award from Smith College; and named an AP Scholar Award by the College Board.


Jenna Romano will attend Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. this fall where she will major in elementary education. Romano’s impressive community service engagement includes: organizer for the Alzheimer’s Association; coach, Danvers Youth Cheerleaders; member of S.A.D.D.; Freshman Mentor; member, Student Council; and volunteer for Tomorrow’s Teachers. She was a varsity Hockey Cheerleader and balanced a part-time job.

“Becoming a teacher has always been a lifetime goal of mine,” explained Romano in her essay. “Ms. Ritzer left a wonderful legacy behind which was ‘be good to people’ and that will forever live on. I will always remember the things she stood for. I hope that one day when I am a teacher, I will be able to touch the lives of my students and inspire them to be the best that they can be just like my teachers did for me.”

Romano’s academic recognitions include member of the National English and World Language Honor Societies.

Nashoba Regional High School


Clara Greszczuk participated in a number of extra-curricular activities while a student at Nashoba Regional High. These include: field hockey team, peer tutoring, stage manager for theatrical performances, ReACT Theatre Camp, ski team, student ambassador and student advisory council. She also helped to organize blood drives and served as a counselor at Camp Sunshine, a camp in Maine that provides respite for children with life-threatening illnesses.

She also amassed an impressive number of awards and recognitions as a student: Achievement in Latin Award, Justice in Law Award and the Pre-Calculus Award. During her junior and senior years, she was a member of the National Honor Society, a recognition of her academic achievements.

“I would like to infect students with my enthusiasm for reading and the English language and inspire students to write well in the way that my teachers did for me,” wrote Greszczuk in her application. “Another goal I have for college and beyond is to continue doing community service work, whether that be peer tutoring or helping out at a food pantry. This will help me become part of the community and meet amazing people.”

2014 Recipients



Andover High School

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Christine A. Aumais, who will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to pursue the education field with the dream of becoming a social studies teacher, was awarded a scholarship.
“Growing up, I never wanted to be a teacher, but when I reached high school, something changed,” said Aumais. “I realized a teacher does so much more than just help kids learn the Pythagorean Theorem, or find the true meaning of a poem. I realized I became the person I did because of the teachers I had. High school is a time when kids discover themselves and realize what their goals and passions are, and at such a critical time in someone’s life they need people to guide them and help them explore every aspect of themselves. Upon realizing the importance of teachers, I realized that I wanted to be that person. I want to help kids reach their potential and realize their dreams.”
Aumais made the Honor Roll in each of her four years at Andover High School where she was also a member of the track and field team and captain of the field hockey team. She is a leader in her church youth group and served as a coach for the middle school track program. A volunteer for the school’s Red Cross Club, she also served as a volunteer at Camp Tricklin’ Falls. Aumais is the middle of three sisters and shared, “my sisters are my role models, support system and best friends.”

andover recCourtney L. Comeau, who will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to pursue a degree in education, was awarded a scholarship.

“I have been coaching elementary, middle school and special needs children in track and cheerleading for the past five years,” said Comeau. “It makes me feel good about myself when I help children overcome challenges and master new skills. When I think of my future, I am driven by the thoughts of combining my coaching and classroom skills to help students and athletes. The most important qualities a teacher can have are compassion and understanding.”
Comeau was a member of the cheerleading squad and the captain of fall and spring track and field teams. In addition to serving on those teams, she was also an AJFL cheering coach and DCS, middle school and Special Olympics coach. The Boston Globe named her to the all-star track team. Comeau will build upon the skills she has developed as a coach and apply those skills in the classroom to make a difference in the lives of her future students.

andover recElizabeth P. Dever, who will attend the University of Connecticut and enroll in the five-year education program to earn a bachelors and masters degree, was awarded a scholarship. Her inspiration in pursuing education as a profession was her Mom, who recently began a second career as a teacher.

“Since before I can remember, being a teacher was always in the back of my mind,” said Dever. “My main inspiration in pursuing education is definitely my Mom. This is the first year she has been a teacher and I can see how happy she is going to work every day. Like her, I want to make an impact on the students that I will one day teach.”
Dever was named to the Honor Roll in each of her four years at Andover. A member of Greater Lawrence Rowing and recipient of the High Five Sportsmanship Award, she works one-on-one with fourth grade students at Frost Elementary School and was a senior member of the Student to Student Peer Mentoring program. A soccer coach and CCD teacher, she also served as a tutor at Sanborn Elementary School. Dever also spent many afternoons during her senior year volunteering at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club helping children with their homework and is the oldest of four children and shared “something I am proud of is being a role model for my younger siblings.”

andover recEmily J. Felter, who will attend Endicott College to pursue a degree in elementary education, was awarded a scholarship. As a swim instructor who worked with a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, her passion for teaching grew through both of their successes.

“At a very early time in my childhood I realized I wanted to be a teacher,” said Felter. “My experiences as a swim instructor have shown me that having a job I love makes all the hard work worth it. I know that college requires this intense amount of work but when I am preparing for a career where I am most content, the work is no longer laborious but an exciting means to becoming a great teacher.”
Felter is a member of the National Honor Society, church youth group, Prom Committee and the track and field team. She also served as a peer mentor and student ambassador for Freshman Orientation and is the recipient of the Boston Globe’s Scholastic Art Award. In her application, she shared the importance of family in her life, a family that has supported her dream of becoming a teacher.

andover recJessica C. Ferronetti, who will attend Assumption College to pursue a degree in secondary education with a concentration in math or Spanish, was awarded a scholarship.

“At Andover High, I have had many great teachers who love what they are doing,” said Ferronetti. “However I have had one Spanish teacher, Senora Guadiano who has inspired me to do what I love. She works with every student in order to understand what their weaknesses are, and always tries her best to help them gain more confidence in that area. She has inspired me to work harder at everything. I hope that one day, I can be an amazing teacher to my students like she has been for me.”
Ferronetti, is a member of the National Honor Society and various choir groups. She is a recipient of the Girl Scouts’ Silver Award and is in the progress of earning a Gold Award.

andover recCarly N. Sakellarios, who will attend Assumption College to pursue a degree in education, was awarded a scholarship. Since she was in kindergarten, Sakellarios has expressed her dream to become a teacher.

“Teachers have immensely huge impacts on the students they interact with, and my past has proven that,” said Sakellarios. “My first elementary school teacher, Mrs. Woo, taught my kindergarten class. She carried the class with joy and energy and had a generally calm nature about her that made me feel safe and cared for in her classroom. This initial inspiration helped me decide that I wanted to be a teacher; one that would be a conscientious person with a caring personality, and have the characteristics that would inspire my own students.”
Sakellarios is a mentor in the Students Helping Students and Kid to Kid Mentoring programs and a CCD teacher. She anticipates that the next four years will prepare her for her career as a teacher by providing the knowledge and experience she’ll require to change the lives of her future students. Sakellarios is an Honor Roll student who has challenged herself in Honors level classes in English, Latin and social studies. Sakellarios, who is the oldest of four children and knew Colleen Ritzer, shared “Colleen was the type of sister I wanted to be.”

Danvers High School

danversawardeesCatherine J. Lamoly, who will attend Roger Williams University to pursue a degree in secondary education with history, was awarded a scholarship.

“In the future, when I become an educator, I strive to make as great an impact that Ms. Ritzer made on her students, myself included,” said Lamoly. “I am determined each day to emulate her kindness, optimism and love for teaching. Over the course of my next four years at college, I intend to further my knowledge in history and learn how to be an influential teacher who will make a positive impact on students, the way my teachers have for me. My teachers are my heroes.”
Lamoly is a member of the Art National Honor Society and the Danvers Marching Band. She was also a member of the high school field hockey and softball teams.

danversawardeesSamantha L. Walters, who will attend Salem State University to pursue a degree in mathematics with a concentration in education, was awarded a scholarship.

Walters would often answer the question ‘what do you want be when you grow up’ with the response, a teacher. Many would try to dissuade her from pursuing this goal, instead encouraging her to seek professions with higher salaries. However, other professions failed to satisfy her yearning to “inspire, help and encourage others, especially students.”
“Teachers have amazing jobs: they can do what they love and they can get a great sense of accomplishment in doing it,” said Walters. “They teach, influence and impact future generations. 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. She always reminded us to ‘just keep swimming’ when we needed just a little bit of hope. Anybody could see how passionate she was about her job; she loved helping kids.”
Walters is a volunteer for Heart of America Library Makeovers and Care Dimensions, formerly Hospice. She is also a member of the Math Team. Walters has been recognized for outstanding academic achievement in math and made the honor roll each of her four years at Danvers High School.

danversawardeesMary E. Leahy, who will attend Wagner College in the fall to pursue a dual degree in early childhood general and special education, was awarded a scholarship.

“The next four years of college will help me become one step closer to living out my lifelong dream of becoming an elementary special education teacher,” said Leahy. “It will give me the tools and techniques I need in order to become the best teacher I can be. I am cognizant of the fact that first-year teachers do not make a lot of money, but rather are rich with the satisfaction of making a difference in student’s lives, watching them grow as students and people. I am prepared to live a simple life if that means I finally get to live out my dream.”
During her junior and senior year, Leahy volunteered at a local elementary school working in a second grade classroom for two hours each day where she was paired with a student learning English. Leahy helped the student develop her reading, writing and math skills. Eventually she was provided the opportunity to develop lesson plans, then teach small groups of students.
Leahy is a member of the National Honor Society, Model UN, Tomorrow’s Teachers, DECA and volunteers for the Jolly Jaunt and Walk for Hospice.

danversawardeesAndrea M. Lang, who will attend the University of North Carolina, Wilmington to pursue a degree in elementary education, was awarded a scholarship.

“Experiencing the unique connection the teachers have with the students and their ability to reach out and have a genuine compassion for each student inspired me to have the same effect in the future,” said Lang. “Being able to willingly and happily put others’ needs before my own and find joy in it is a skill that I have and will continue to take with me into my life to help me succeed in the rest of my educational experience and in life.”
Last year, Lang volunteered at Bridges to Community in Nicaragua, a nonprofit community development organization that takes volunteers to developing countries to work, learn and reflect. She has also volunteered at the Danvers Senior Center and for the Memory Walk. In the classroom, Lang serves as a ‘Tomorrows Teachers’ volunteering in local elementary schools.
She is a member of the National English Honor Society, National Honor Society and a member of the student council. Her Marching Band efforts provided her the opportunity to perform in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Walt Disney World Holiday Parade, Rose Bowl Parade and the Universal Studio’s Holiday Parade. A section leader in the school band, Lang is also captain of the swim team.

danversawardeesLily M. Cuzner, who will attend High Point University in North Carolina to study special education, was awarded a scholarship. Cuzner plans to enroll in the University’s five-year master’s program and receive an advanced degree in special education and elementary education. She then plans to return to Danvers to teach in the public school system.

“I expect the next four years of college to prepare me for the rest of my life because it is going to teach me the skills I need to be successful,” said Cuzner. “I love working with kids and I plan on going to college so I can continue to pursue this passion. This experience will prepare me to be the best teacher I can be and hopefully my passions for working with kids will be reflected in my work and in my students and what they will achieve.”
Cuzner has already begun to build a foundation for her future career as a teacher. As an assistant group leader through Fun Club, an after school program, Cuzner was provided the opportunity to begin working with children such as assisting with homework. Shortly after she joined Fun Club, Cuzner was assigned to work with a child with severe learning and social disabilities. By working with the student, Cuzner helped him to improve his grades and inspired her to pursue a degree in special education.

danversawardeesSarah E. Mountain, who will attend Salem State University in the fall to pursue a degree in elementary education, was awarded a scholarship. Mountain discovered early in life her passion for teaching. In elementary school on ‘hero day’ when students chose to dress up as a doctor or fireman, Mountain chose her teacher. In high school, her peers often seek her assistance on difficult assignments.

“Looking towards my future, I know that the impact my teachers have made on me is the influence I want to make on my students when I become a teacher,” said Mountain. “Every teacher I have had has inspired me to become the person I am today. This will shape me into the role model I hope to become in the future. I dream someday to impact and shape the lives of students and inspire them to reach their dreams.”
Each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, Mountain volunteers for an after school program where her passion for teaching and interacting with children flourished. She is a section leader in the marching band, a member of the basketball and tennis team and a member of the National Music Honor Society.