Group honors previous educator | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

BOARDMAN – A book was donated to the Boardman High School library in honor of Francis J. Ritz of Poland, a former Boardman teacher who died in November 2019 at the age of 102.

The book was introduced by Darlene Malaska (former president) and Debbie VanArsdale (current president) of the MU chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society of Key Women Educators. Ritz was a member of the local chapter, and earlier this year the membership decided to donate a book to Boardman High School on their behalf.

“It is a policy of our chapter to pay tribute to deceased members,” Malaska said during a Boardman Board of Education meeting last week. “Francis was all about education and it had a tremendous impact on Boardman schools.”

Ritz was born in Youngstown in 1917, the oldest of five children. She made a name for herself early in her life, becoming the first young woman in Mahoning County to receive the Golden Eaglet Award in 1935. The award was the highest honor for a girl scout of the time.

Ritz graduated from East High School in Youngstown as a valedictorian. She continued her studies by earning a BS in Education from Youngstown State University, known as Youngstown College in 1939.

Her teaching career lasted 48 years and included four years of teaching at the YSU School of Business. She served with Boardman for 32 years, serving as the director of the business education department and director of the Cooperative Office Education program. She secured 700 internship jobs for her students in a variety of fields and was awarded the Ohio State Vocational Department plaque for excellence in finding job opportunities for her students.

In addition to her commitment to education, Ritz was also known for volunteering for others. She volunteered at the Pearl Street Community Center and the Christ Mission on the East Side to distribute food and clothing to the poor. She was treasurer of the Library of Friends of the Poles for 10 years and she held all the books in hand.

Ritz enjoyed some pastimes. One of these was when she and her husband Steve Ritz joined the East Ohio Lapidary Club and took up the gemstone hobby. She also had a passion for gardens that was spawned by the December 21st book donation.

Ritz liked to travel and looked for gardens everywhere.

“She loved gardens,” said Malaska. “She traveled a lot and was always looking for gardens to visit. This was a key factor in the book we wanted to donate, Gardener’s Gardens. “

Malaska said two of Ritz’s favorite gardens are Singhurst in Kent, England and Giverney Gardens in Giverney, France.

“Both gardens are included in the book, which makes it a fair donation,” Malaska said.

The book was accepted as a very welcome addition by College Librarian Sandy Vicarel.

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