'Ride high, Kye': Minnamurra Public School hold Yates family in their hearts

Kye's classmates wear their hearts on their signs.
Kye's classmates wear their hearts on their signs.

A class full of year 5 students huddle together, listening anxiously to an auction.

While unusual behaviour for 10 and 11-year-olds, these were no ordinary students, and it was no ordinary auction.

The students were classmates of 10-year-old Kye Yates, who was killed in an ATV accident in June of this year.

They were hoping to hear Kye's family had won the Lead Truck for the i98FM Illawarra Convoy. After winning the Lead Bike for the convoy earlier this week, with a $105,000 bid, it would be the first time a single group had won both.

And, with a $500,000 bid, they did.

Kye's teacher, Carol Laverty, and classmates, remembered a boy who loved the Convoy, and loved supporting children who faced more challenges than most. Kye had a big heart and always supported Convoy.

Kye's classmates listen intently to the bidding.

Kye's classmates listen intently to the bidding.

In the week that would have been Kye's 11th birthday, the students at Minnamurra Public School, Kiama Public School, Gerringong Public School, Jamberoo Public School and Kiama High School had a Colours for Kye day to celebrate Kye's birthday and to raise money to support Kye's Convoy dream.

Seeing the dream become a reality was a bittersweet moment for his classmates.

Mrs Laverty said Kye was a much-loved member of his class.

"During the bidding, Kye's classmates sat in what they call Kye's Corner of their classroom," she said.

"When Kye's family made their final bid, the room was quiet while the students realised that Kye's family would lead the bikes and the trucks.

"There were smiles and laughter, tears and hugs.

"The children were so proud and so happy. And they missed Kye."

After the bidding, some of the children wrote about how they felt about Kye and his Convoy dream.

"When Kye got the Lead Truck, I was very overwhelmed," one student said.

"I was happy that he got the lead truck but it was also very sad because Kye was not there to celebrate with us. We will always miss him! We will remember him."

Victory for Kye.

Victory for Kye.

"Dear Kye," said another student.

"I hope you see this because I am proud of you. You got Lead Truck and Lead Bike.

"When I was sitting down and listening to your dad, Peter, say he was making his last bid, there was a big pause. Then Peter said something nobody, I mean nobody, would ever plan.

"He said he was raising the bid to $500,000. Tears started gushing down my face as I listened to those words.

"Kye, you made it home. We love you so much. We send prayers out to you. You're little but strong and never gave up. The other bidders are happy to drive behind you."

Other students spoke about how excited they were to see Kye's family lead the convoy, and said it was fitting his favourite number - five - had been part of both bids.

They said the win made it feel like Kye was still with them.

"We will be watching and cheering on Sunday. We will hold Kye in our hearts."