Margaret Baddour wouldn't describe herself as a fixer or a fund raiser but recently she found herself taking on both roles.
The retired Wayne Community College instructor and veteran performer took center stage after discovering a need for a sound system at Goldsboro High School.
She addressed the Board of Education earlier this month about the experience.
"Spring a year ago, a small troop of us local actors went out into the schools to promote literature during Wayne County Reads," she said. "When we got to Goldsboro High School, there was a lot of noise in the auditorium, and it became evident that students couldn't hear it.
"When (interim principal Marcia) Manning said they couldn't hear Geoff Hulse or the loud Margaret Baddour, we realized there was a problem."
The situation prompted her to call Kim Copeland, director specialist for the arts with Wayne County Public Schools, who in turn convened a committee that included Manning, then assistant superintendent for support services Dean Sauls, lead choral teacher Jason Cox and Sherry Archibald from the Paramount Theatre.
Copeland was familiar with the situation, since she is responsible for scheduling events at the school.
"I had arranged a lot of events there because that stage is bigger and wider," she said. "The auditorium is used a lot countywide."
From graduations to choral programs, awards ceremonies and Goldsboro/Dillard Alumni festivities, it is a popular draw.
But despite other renovations and furnishings being refurbished at the school, its sound system was "just in bad shape," Copeland said.
"Every time we had an event, the lead choral teacher was having to bring in his own equipment because the system was so out of whack," she said.
Discussions by the committee led to a grassroots effort to remedy the situation.
The process included seeking donations and bids for the project.
Baddour and her husband, local attorney Phil Baddour, generated a list of people, mostly GHS graduates from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, Copeland said.
"Margaret went around on her own and solicited," Copeland said. "People just gave.
"Most of them wrote her a check right then. They were happy to do it. She explained that they were investing in the children."
Baddour told the school board she had enjoyed calling on the 22 generous contributors.
"Almost every one gave toward our project, taking out his or her checkbook right away," she said. "And then there were a few donors who hadn't attended GHS but they gave because they believe in our schools."
Her husband is a "consummate fundraiser," Baddour said, and provided wise counsel throughout the project.
The Chamber of Commerce also assisted by allowing the group to deposit the contributions and run them through its Wayne Charitable Foundation.
And Avalanche Sound came in with the lowest bid for the project, $10,000. Scott Ely of that business worked with the organizers in securing and installing the equipment -- including a variety of wireless and cordless microphones and headsets, microphone stands, sound mixers and monitors. He also assisted with installation last month, after school dismissed for the summer.
The sound system will officially debut when school resumes in the fall, Copeland said.
There will also be added criteria for using and maintaining the new items, she said.
"We will have training sessions with the people that use it," she said. "And anybody that uses the auditorium for events from the community will have to hire our sound and light manager."
The culmination of the effort has been gratifying, said Baddour, trying to capture the feeling that accompanied the unveiling of the newly installed equipment.
She circulated a photo for the school board to get a sense of that day, when she called in the GHS lead choral teacher and band teacher to see the finished product.
"Their eyes were glistening when they saw all that sound equipment," she said. "I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to see that they were pleased and how they were looking so forward to introducing it to their classes in August."
Copeland agreed that having a brand new, installed and paid for sound system has been an unexpected reward, expressing gratitude to the anonymous donors for supporting students at the school.
"We're very excited -- No. 1, that someone would take this on and No. 2, the success of it," she said. "It just surprised us the way that everybody embraced it and wanted to be a part of it."
Margaret Baddour shrugged off credit for herself or her husband's role in the outcome, instead posing a rhetorical question about having simply been in the right place at the right time.
"How often do you see a problem in the community and say, 'I wish they'd fix that?'" she said. "Well, it's been a privilege to be able to make a difference in this small way with a sound system that will lead to many programs, plays, orchestras and panel discussions and will, hopefully, make the auditorium once again a center for activity in this community."