By Celine Klosterman
Family members of a beloved former student at Prince of Peace Schools in Clinton are working to turn tragedy into opportunity for future students.
Relatives of Kylee Hyde, whom they say was a loving, outgoing, funny teen, are fundraising to set up a scholarship in her memory at Prince of Peace College Preparatory. Two college scholarships will go to students in her class of 2011, and in following years, assistance will go to one incoming Prince of Peace freshman annually.
Kylee “would be thrilled that someone was able to go to Prince of Peace because of her,” said Judy Hyde, her grandma and a member of Prince of Peace Parish. The bubbly student was always trying to make people happy, relatives said.
But Kylee’s efforts to do so ended Feb. 2. That day, she was returning home from a basketball game at Hortonville High School in Wisconsin, where her family moved from Clinton in 2008. She had attended Prince of Peace Academy and College Preparatory for about eight years.
While driving, Kylee hit black ice; her car slipped into the path of an oncoming car and was struck. The 17-year-old died instantly, said her aunt Sherri Allen. She belongs to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf and is coordinating a golf tournament fundraiser for the scholarships.
The teen’s family was soon swarmed with well-wishers. “She’d made such an impact in such a short time,” Allen said of Kylee’s year-and-a-half at Hortonville. “ … I don’t know of anyone who she didn’t have some sort of special relationship with.”
Judy Hyde said that after her granddaughter died, family members heard several stories of how Kylee had reached out to fellow students. She “went out of her way” to make one transfer student feel accepted, and invited a teen with Down syndrome to practice with her basketball team, Judy Hyde said. “She was always trying to help the underdog.”
“She knew how to make people laugh,” said Nate McKone, a cousin of Kylee and son of Allen. “She was always goofing around, always making people smile.”
A group set up in the late teen’s memory on the social-networking website Facebook has more than 4,000 members. Family and friends continue to post memories and notes of sympathy on it daily.
Prince of Peace students and faculty are among those who miss Kylee greatly, said Nancy Peart, school administrator. “She gave her all in whatever she set out to accomplish both in the classroom and in her athletic endeavors.” Besides taking part in basketball, the student participated in softball, volleyball and track during high school.
Her faith was important to her, too, McKone said. Kylee’s confirmation sponsor, he recalled the former altar server opening up about her relationship with God during a retreat. “It was amazing to see someone that young have that passion about her faith.” She shared that devotion on her Facebook profile: “I love God tons,” McKone said it read.
Allen said faith is what’s helped members of the Hydes and Waldorfs — family of Kylee’s mother, Amy — deal with the tragedy. Judy Hyde said priests who served at Prince of Peace Parish — Fathers Tony Herold and Thom Hennen — were especially helpful.
Recently, relatives have been coping in part by passing around a book found in the teen’s room after she died: Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”
But Kylee wouldn’t want people to be dwelling on the past, Allen said. “She lived her life with no regrets. She didn’t have time for anybody to be angry or sad… That’s the message she wants to pass on.”
To purchase memorial T-shirts, window stickers or pop-can koozies in support of the Prince of Peace scholarship fund, contact Sherri Allen at (563) 320-0475 or Sherri.Allen@xerox.com.
A memorial golf tournament will take place Sept. 4 at the Clinton Country Club at the Oaks. Cost is $75 for nonmembers or $50 for members. Dinner and entertainment only is $15. Cost to sponsor a hole is $25-$100. A raffle will take place for prizes including a precision grill from Air Control, Inc., a Lane recliner from Banner Home Furnishings and $500 cash. Raffle tickets cost $5 each or $20 for five.
To register or for more information, contact Allen.
Family comforted by support
Kylee’s parents and three siblings offered this statement:
“Our family is extremely humbled by the love and support of the Prince of Peace and City of Clinton communities. Although our hearts ache with pain and sadness, we are comforted by the thoughts and prayers of all of our friends and family in Iowa. We are extremely proud of the way Kylee lived her life full of love for all, with strong faith, and unmatched character.
“The Kylee Hyde Memorial Golf Outing is an incredible way for everyone to support the Prince of Peace School in memory of our beautiful and dearly missed Kylee. We extend our thanks to everyone involved and we are eternally grateful. God Bless: Erik, Amy, Tyler, Alexis, Cole.”