ANDOVER (CBS) — Around 2,000 people were on hand Sunday morning in Andover for the annual Step Up for Colleen 5K, a run that benefits the Colleen E. Ritzer Memorial Fund. Colleen Ritzer was a math teacher at Danvers High School who was killed in 2013 when a student attacked her in the school’s bathroom.
The fund set up in her name hopes to extend her good will and kind acts through scholarships and grants. Since 2014, the charity has raised more than $370,000 in scholarships that have been awarded to teachers and future leaders.
The event took place in Andover’s Central Park. Runners and walkers involved in the 5K created a “sea of pink”, which was Ritzer’s favorite color.
Nina Caron, race director for the Step Up For Colleen 5K, had a close relationship to Ritzer, as her oldest daughter was best friends with her.
“Her love of family, connection, community. It was all about kindness and compassionate living. And that’s the messaging around this event. That’s exactly why we’re all here, to carry on that legacy,” said Caron.
Ritzer was a 2007 graduate of Andover High School and a 2011 graduate of Assumption College. From a young age, she wanted to be a teacher.
She was pursuing a graduate degree at Salem State College before her death.