Algonquin Mourns Second Student Death in a Week
The already-grieving Algonquin College community is mourning the second tragic death of a student in less than a week.
While still coping with the Easter Sunday shooting of Christina Voelzing — who succumbed to her injuries Wednesday morning — students and faculty have learned about the passing of another student, Tristan Nelson Barrett.
Barrett, a 47-year-old father, was hospitalized after suffering severe injuries in a car crash on March 23 in Carp. On Sunday, he died in hospital.
Flags at the college were at half-mast in honour of Voelzing and Barrett, and counselling services had been made available to students and employees.
“As we grieve together, we must also remember and honour Tristan and Christina and all that they brought to our College community,” wrote Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen in an email to staff and faculty.
“I hope you will join me in continuing to keep Tristan and Christina’s families in our thoughts and prayers in the difficult days and weeks ahead.”
The mature student was two months away from graduating from a practical nursing program. He leaves behind a four-year-old daughter, Isa.
“I have young children as well, so I thought it would mean a lot to his family if we started a fundraiser to help his daughter,” said classmate Stephanie Goddard.
Goddard launched a GoFundMe page on behalf of her peers to raise money for Barrett’s family and to set up a registered education savings plan for his daughter. Donations had surpassed the $5,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon.
According to Goddard, Barrett was about to begin his eight-week preceptorship, in which students work full-time alongside a registered nurse. After the eight weeks are up, students who have successfully completed their preceptorships go on to graduate.
“It’s a very difficult program, it’s hard work,” said Goddard. “To get this far, (Tristan) accomplished so much already, it’s pretty sad that he won’t be able to finish.
“I know from speaking to the students in our program, and the faculty as well, that it’s been a pretty sombre week. People are pretty devastated from the loss.”