By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
WALNUT – There are sure to be plenty of great items at Walnut Elementary School’s silent auction scheduled to be held at the school later this month, but no item is expected to receive more attention than a baseball cap signed by three famous faces of the National Football League.
The WES Spring Carnival/Silent Auction will be held April 22 from 5 – 8 p.m., with the Silent Auction portion of the night lasting from 5 –7:30 p.m.
Among the hundreds of items up for grabs at the school’s auction will be a baseball cap personally autographed by father Archie, and sons Peyton and Eli Manning. The conversation piece is the result of bold thinking by WES first grade teacher Penny Dollar.
“We are responsible for getting so many people to donate things for the silent auction. So, I told Marcia Meeks—we share a class together–I wanted to go big and send a letter to the Mannings,” said Dollar, who was drawn to the NFL’s first family because of their support of youth and education.
“I thought it would be pie in the sky, but who knows?”
Dollar wrote the letter on March 24 and mailed it a few days later—after she Googled the Manning’s Louisiana address. By Monday, April 5, she was told a box awaited her at the WES office—a box from New Orleans, La.
“In the letter, I just told them we are a small school and a lot of our parents had been laid off. This is the only way we raised money for our classroom,” Dollar said. “When I saw the box and it said 639 Loyala, New Orleans, I just started jumping up and down screaming, we got something!”
Inside the box was the cap, along with the original letter she wrote to prove the hat was authentic. At first glance, Dollar thought it was just a cap from the Manning Football Academy, but after pulling the cap out of the box, she was elated to see the added incentive.
“When I saw those three autographs, I was speechless,” added Dollar.
Dollar has high hopes for the sports memorabilia. She wants the bidding to start at $100, and hopefully not end less than $1,000. She’s also thinking ahead, commenting that Brett Favre was on the list for next year.
Securing such an auction item was music to the ears of WES Principal Timmy Bryant, who hopes to raise as much money as possible for his students and faculty. However, he is concerned that the item will be a bit much for his pocket.
“I’m disappointed that it might be out of my price range, but I’m sure it will bring the people out,” said Bryant, an Ole Miss alum just like Archie and Eli. “Penny always does a good job and this will help us in a year where the economy is not so good.
“Anytime you have an auction, and in our case a silent auction, the success depends on how many people come out. It’s not just about raising the money, because it also gives us a chance to show the community what our school is about.”