Colleen Ritzer was the kind of high school teacher who made geometry and algebra classes fun. Just a few years older than her students, she used Twitter to send homework assignments and inspirational messages.
Her Twitter profile description read: "Math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."
Ritzer's lifeless body was found in woods near Danvers High School early Wednesday morning. Prosecutors in Massachusetts charged one of her students, Philip Chism, 14, with beating the 24-year-old teacher to death.
Ritzer was "a dynamic and brilliant ray of light," the school district's statement said. "Colleen Ritzer was everything one could ask for in a teacher -- dedicated, passionate and invested in her students. Our entire community will feel this loss for many years to come."
Family, friends and her students echoed those sentiments over and over again Wednesday as they struggled to comprehend the loss.
"She was just a young caring girl who had whole world ahead of her," her uncle Peter Martellucci told CNN affiliate WCVB. "And to be taken so tragically, it's awful."
Ritzer's aunt, Shirley Martellucci, said her niece never had any trouble with students. "She always wanted to be a teacher, all her life. It's just unbelievable that someone would take her life at such a young age."
At a vigil Wednesday night, students were visibly distraught as they remembered their beloved teacher.
"There were no words that could describe how upset and heartbroken everyone was from the loss of Ms. Ritzer," student Brianna Wallis told CNN's Piers Morgan.
A statement by her family called Ritzer an "amazing, beautiful daughter and sister."
"Everyone that knew and loved Colleen knew of her passion for teaching and how she mentored each and every one of her students."
Her family asked for privacy "at this most difficult time," but Ritzer's social network postings offer insight into her personality and passions.
Ritzer loved 'Home Alone,' 1990s sitcoms, math
Ritzer's idea of a great night apparently was watching "Home Alone" for the hundredth time or a marathon of "Full House" or "Boy Meets World" episodes on television.
"Sunday note: Home Alone is the best holiday movie ever made :)" she tweeted in December.
While it's her name now in the latest tragic headlines, she mourned when 26 students and adults were killed by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.
"Such a devastating, unbelievable tragedy in CT. Please keep the innocent children, teachers, and their families in your thoughts," Ritzer tweeted that day.
When the Boston Marathon was interrupted by bombs in April, Ritzer wrote: "This world is a crazy place. Love who you love and live every day. Thoughts and prayers to those affected at the Boston Marathon."
She also posted a quote she credited to the late children's TV host Mr. Rogers: "I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' "
On last month's anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, she tweeted: "Always thinking of the innocent victims of 9/11 and the loved ones left behind who live in their light every day."
She also used Twitter to share her philosophy on life and tough times: "Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."
"No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."
To students in her geometry and algebra classes, she once wrote: "Full school week ahead. That can only mean one thing: lots of math fun :)"
'She cared about every single student'
When Ritzer took the job at Danvers High School, it meant she could live with her parents in Andover about 15 miles away. This would save money as she also worked on a master's degree in school counseling at Salem State University.