ANDOVER (CBS) — It was a sea of pink–Colleen Ritzer‘s favorite color–as thousands of runners sprinted from the starting line at Central Park for the fourth annual Step Up For Colleen 5K.
Ritzer was killed by a 14-year-old student at Danvers High School in 2013. The race, sponsored by Century Bank, benefits college scholarships in Colleen’s name, which are awarded to graduating Andover and Danvers High seniors who want to pursue a teaching career.
Colleen Ritzer’s sister, Laura, addressed runners and their families before the start of the race.
“Do we all wish we could be celebrating with Colleen today, rather than celebrating her memory and life? Of course,” she said. “But we have to do what Colleen would want us to do, and find the good in the day. Today’s good seems pretty obvious to me. It’s each and every one of you, being here and honoring Colleen’s life and legacy.”
Samantha Walters is a Colleen Ritzer scholarship recipient. She had Ritzer as a teacher, and says she is her role model.
“She was was very kind, very helpful,” Walters told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe. “Even if you weren’t her student, she would help you out with math or anything that you needed.”
Among those running the race was Ritzer’s cousin, Heather Andrews.
“It’s just so amazing to see all these people come out for her, and to just step up in her name,” Andrews said. “She was an amazing person. Very personable, a great teacher. She just loved life.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports