A special item from a special alumnus will be part of an auction benefiting the new Honor Garden at Naperville Central High School.
Sean Payton, head coach of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and a 1982 graduate, has donated a signed football for the auction, which runs from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
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"Isn't that cool?" said Lynne Nolan, the school's dean of student activities and a classmate of Payton's. "Opening the package was a little like Christmas, because we didn't know what would be inside. My son said, 'We're totally bidding on this!'"
The auction will be held at the Judd Kendall VFW Post, 908 W. Jackson Ave. in Naperville. Proceeds will help the school create an Honor Garden, a multipurpose outdoor space that will include a sensory area for students with special needs and a memorial to members of the Naperville Central community who have died.
Payton was a star quarterback at Central, and he went on to play at Eastern Illinois University and in the NFL. As coach of the Saints, Payton turned around one of the league's worst franchises and led the team to its first-ever championship.
In addition to the signed football, a number of packages from various businesses in the region will be up for auction, along with a selection of items from a wing of Naperville Central that is being remodeled as part of an $87.7 million renovation project.
The school items include a section of chalk board, old classroom desks and a variety of athletic memorabilia dating back to when the school's mascot was the Redskins.
Tickets for the auction are $25 for adults and $10 for children with food and drinks included. Children's activities will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For more information, go to the school's website at schools.naperville203.org/central.