ANDOVER (CBS) – The family of a Danvers teacher said Wednesday the past year has been “very difficult” as they marked the first anniversary of her death.

Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, was murdered October 22, 2013 at school.

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One of her students, Philip Chism, now 15, is charged with raping and killing her and leaving her body outside the high school.

Ritzer’s family released this statement Wednesday on the one year anniversary.

“Colleen was good, kind and loving. She was passionate about teaching and loved the life that she worked so hard to achieve. We are grateful that her legacy lives on in a new generation of caring and passionate teachers through the recipients of Colleen’s scholarship. We continue to receive messages from those moved by Colleen’s passion for teaching, many of whom have chosen to become teachers themselves because of her inspiration. We are grateful to all who continue to keep Colleen’s legacy alive, a legacy of a caring teacher who was always good to people.

This has been a very difficult year for our family. Each day is more difficult than the last. Time has not made Colleen’s passing easier to accept. Her absence from our lives becomes more evident with each day. Whether at the dinner table, a family photograph or family gathering, her absence is always felt and that absence grows stronger with each event. Her laugh and her smile are always missing.

Our strength to endure each day comes from family, friends and members of the community that surround and support us. Their emails, phone calls, visits or efforts to honor Colleen, turn some of the despair of darkness into light and hope. Their kind gestures, no matter how small, make a tremendous difference in our lives. Though difficult for us, they help our family to find the good in every day. They are our good in every day. Thank you for your continued support of our family.”

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-Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer

On August 11, 2013, Colleen tweeted “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

Tom, Peggie, Dan and Laura Ritzer encourage those who would like to remember Colleen on this day to do “something good”.

Additional information may be found on, Facebook and Twitter.


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