The death of Doherty High School graduate Ashleigh Nicole Cox was a blow for staff and students who this week remembered her vitality and positive attitude.
"She was always full of joy," said Principal Dennis Vigil. "I remember shaking her hand at graduation. She was delightful."
Cox, 21, was swept away by an avalanche Saturday at American Fork Canyon, south of Salt Lake City, and died the next day when she was taken off life support.
She graduated from Doherty High School in 2010 and was a senior at Brigham Young University.
Cox competed as a two-sport varsity athlete in track and cross country. Doherty track coach Rob Duensing remembered Cox in a statement posted Sunday on the high school's Facebook page, saying she would be remembered as part of the "track and field family."
"I will always remember Ashleigh as full of vitality, a smile on her face, sensitive to the feelings of those around her, never a negative comment from her, and dedicating herself to serving others. Her example in life is a testament to the grounding she had and the love she had for God, family, friends, and community. Ashleigh will be missed," the statement read.
As part of her social work studies, Cox spent last summer in Romania on an internship, working with a children's orphanage and hospital. She expected to graduate from college in the spring and wanted to further her education in social work, according to a statement released Monday by her family.
"She loved to work with those struggling with life's challenges and dedicated her short life to serving others," the statement read.
Two of Cox's siblings are students at the high school, a senior and a freshman.
"The whole family went to Utah when this tragedy happened," Vigil said. "Every student and our school counselors are ready to support them when they come back. We truly see ourselves as a family here at Doherty."
A funeral will be held in Colorado Springs on Saturday and a memorial will be held Feb. 18 in Provo, Utah, according to the family's statement. An online memorial account has been set up at https://pledgie.com/campaigns/24098.