ANDERSON — John Paugh, the owner of Carter Logistics, graduated from Madison Heights High School 46 years ago.
Now, Paugh, along with local businesswoman Nancy Ricker, is helping to raise money and awareness about the need to upgrade certain equipment and technology at Anderson High School, as well as replace items like the carpeting and stage curtains and seats in the school auditorium.
He's pledged to write a check for $50,000 if, in the next six months beginning on July 1, other local business leaders contribute an equal sum to the cause.
Administered by the Madison County Community Foundation, it will be called the Anderson Community Schools Improvement Fund, said executive director Sally DeVoe.
"I graduated in 1968 from Madison Heights High School and Anderson has been real good to me. I think it's time to start giving back, and I think the best way is to give back is to our schools," Paugh said. "The same curtains, carpet and paint that was there when I graduated is still there."
Many of those things may, in fact, be original equipment from when the school was built in the late 1950s, officials say.
Anderson High Principal Terry Thompson, who on July 1 will become superintendent of Anderson Community Schools, first approached Ricker in the early spring about creating partnerships to raise funds for these kind of school needs.
"I met with Nancy Ricker and shared some stats and improvements we made at Anderson High School over the past year," Thompson said of their initial meeting in April.
But fostering a culture of success includes more than simply improving test scores. It also means taking pride in one's surroundings, Thompson maintains.
Worn and dirty carpets, broken seats and threadbare curtains held together with large safety pins diminish that sense, he said. And with school budgets squeezed like never before, money isn't available for these kind of projects — which is where local business leaders can play a contributing role.