Fifth-grade student Kaylee Madison Hawk, 11, is described by many who knew her as having a personality that could brighten anyone’s day.
Kaylee, who attended Woodland Elementary School, died unexpectedly March 16.
“She just had that personality that when she walked into a room everybody would want to smile because she had the biggest smile on her face,” said Tesia Riveria, Kaylee’s Girl Scout troop leader. “Kaylee was everybody’s buddy. I don’t know how else to describe it other than she was everybody’s buddy. We called her our ‘little spirit stick.’ We didn’t need a spirit stick for camp. We had Kaylee.”
Rivera said their troop has 52 girls and upon hearing the news of Kaylee’s death almost all them said the same, “Kaylee was my buddy.”
HCS Superintendent Teresa Morgan in a statement Tuesday that Kaylee “was truly a leader in her school.”
“Her kindness, joy and compassion for others were true examples for all of the Woodland Elementary family,” Morgan wrote. “Kaylee made a strong impact on her school family and the community. We know that she would have continued to make that impact if only given the opportunity. Her passing saddens all of us and it leaves an empty place in our HCS family.”
Kaylee was president of the K-Club, the student adaptation of the Kiwanis Club, at the school.
Beverly Weatherington, an advisor for the club, said Kaylee had natural leadership skills.
“Kaylee truly was great,” she said. “She was known not only by her teachers, but everybody.”
Andrea Green and Courtney Erizer, two of Kaylee’s teachers, said Kaylee embodied love for others.
“Kaylee was an amazing kid. She was a friend to everybody. She started every day with hugs and I love yous and ended every day with hugs and I love yous,” Green said. “To know her was truly to love her.”
Erizer said Kaylee touched so many lives without even realizing what an impact she had on her classmates, teachers or even a stranger on the street. She said Kaylee was the first person to go up to a lonely kid to see if they wanted to play.
“You didn’t see her without a smile hardly ever,” she said. “Her whole face smiled. You couldn’t help but smile. She always wanted to make things better.”
Green said Kaylee also always was making things for everybody.
“We knew she loved us and I hope she knew we loved her,” she said.
Though they don’t know what it will be yet, the teachers said they want to do a community service project in Kaylee’s honor. They said Kaylee wanted to spread love and care to human kind.
Kaylee also was the first student at Woodland to do the school’s morning announcements. Bethany Broach, Kaylee’s mother, said there was one teacher that would call her “Woodland’s celebrity.”
Additionally, Kaylee was an Elizabethtown Area Youth Football League cheerleader and played softball. Broach said Kaylee liked to stay busy. She always wanted to go somewhere. A few of her favorite places were Target, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A.
“She was so smiley and always gave hugs and just sassy and outgoing,” she said.
Broach said Kaylee wanted every day to be a girls’ day, except for when she wanted to ride her dad’s motorcycle. Her dad is Derek Hawk.
Kameron McKina, Kaylee’s aunt, said Kaylee loved the North Hardin Trojans and that Kaylee was learning to play the flute and ukulele. Broach said Kaylee wanted to join the band when she reached middle school.
Morgan said the staff and administration at Woodland Elementary School are helping students with their grief. Additional counselors were immediately sent to the school when they learned of Kaylee’s death and will stay for as long as they are needed, she said.
The funeral for Kaylee is at noon Friday at Chism Family Funeral Home in Vine Grove. Burial follows in North Hardin Memorial Gardens in Radcliff.