Teslin Russell, an 18-year-old pre-nursing student at Algonquin, lost her life at the end of last year.

“Teslin’s smile would light up my life,” Mary Hamelin, Russell’s figure skating coach for 10 years, said. “She was very selfless, soft-spoken and gentle.”

Hamelin was Teslin’s coach at the Glen Cairn Skating Club. Figure skating was a huge part of Teslin’s life.

“She would gladly volunteer her time to teach skating to the younger kids,” Hamelin said. “The kids just loved and looked up to her.”

When it came time for her to move on to post-secondary learning, she looked to Algonquin for inspiration.

“She was debating some other programs besides pre-nursing, but ultimately decided on it,” Hamelin said. “It really was a perfect fit, it suited her.

“Above all Teslin just loved to make people happy,” Hamelin said. “She was a ray of sunshine, inside and out.”

Teslin was also very competitive. She won numerous figure skating medals, Hamelin said.

“She really loved the sport. Most people stop skating once they graduate from high school; they can’t find the time usually. Teslin though, she kept up with it this year. I think it really shaped her world.”

Teslin’s other big influence was her dad, Rob Russell.

“Teslin was amazing. She had a lot of interest in animals, so much so that she was a vegetarian,” Russell said. “She also loved caring for children and helping seniors.”

She also loved school.

“Teslin was really determined to become a nurse. The first semester at Algonquin went great, it really motivated her,” Russell said. “She was considering her options for next year after the program ends. Trent and Ottawa U being top possibilities.

“She was taken too soon, though she had quite the impact while she was here.”

The cause of Teslin’s death was “inconclusive” said Hamelin.

Teslin’s viewing and funeral were held on Jan. 6 and 7, 2017. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, skating family and the community at Algonquin.