, Salem, MA

Local News

October 26, 2013

Two teams, one goal: Remember Colleen Ritzer


Many of the girls on the field hockey team also play ice hockey with Laura Ritzer, she said.

On Wednesday, Principal Chris Lord postponed the field hockey game against North Andover so the Andover players could attend a vigil in Danvers for Ritzer.

“All the girls decided they wanted to go to the vigil,” Keefe said, adding that Ritzer’s death deeply affected the Andover players.

That day, the teammates got together at one of the captain’s houses and baked. Then, a couple of them took the food to the Ritzers’ house, where they were warmly greeted.

“They are all doing amazing things,” she said.

Several Danvers parents were touched by the ceremony.

“It was very classy for Andover to do that,” said John Papamechail, whose daughter, Nicole, is a senior who plays goalie. Last year, Nicole had Ritzer as her math teacher, he said. When news of her death hit, “she was devastated.”

Most of the kids didn’t want to go back to school yesterday. But, he said, Danvers High School handled things well.

“The principal has been unbelievable,” he said, referring to Susan Ambrozavitch. “Everything is from the heart.”

He said counselors at the school really helped the students cope with returning.

“My daughter is doing surprisingly well,” he said.

Another Danvers parent, Sean Birmingham, said it was a rough week for students and parents, but the game, and the ceremony preceding it, was a great way to end it.

“Coming back to where she was born and where she went to high school, two communities coming together, what a great way to celebrate her life,” he said.

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