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Private Group Raises $70K for Haddonfield High School Auditorium

The money will be added to state funds for a $150,000 makeover.

Actors are always searching for their "motivation" in just about any scene.

But the Lights! Camera! Action! Haddonfield Memorial High School auditorium renovation fund didn't need to look far for its motivation.

"The stage curtains haven't been changed since 1945," said David Hunt, whose wife, Janice, said might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. "Sitting in the audience you can't really see the tears and rips in them."

Janice Hunt and Deanna Burney led the fund-raising drive.

After three years and several setbacks, Hunt will present a check for $70,000 to the school board at its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the high school. The fund-raising drive was put over the top by the borough's annual Holiday House Tour this month, which contributed $17,000. 

The money will get renovations started but the fund-raising continues. A state matching grant will eventually kick in $60,000, which will leave the drive about $10,000 short of its $150,000 goal.

Mike Wilson, the high school principal, praised Hunt and Burney, for their effort.

"I can’t say enough about the vision, efforts and success of the Lights, Camera, Action committee," Wilson said. "Their collective efforts will long be appreciated for generations of students and the community for years to come.  The restoration of the HMHS auditorium serves as a reminder of the unselfish and charitable efforts of countless people to better provide for the arts in Haddonfield."

The Hunt's two daughters are Haddonfield graduates. Their interest in the performing arts helped the Hunts notice how rundown the auditorium was. They continued the fund-raising drive three years after their youngest graduated.

"When we started this project, we had some big donors in mind," Janice Hunt said. "But the bottom dropped out of the economy and we've been pinching pennies ever since. I reached the point several times when I thought I would have to return people's money."

The drive had a setback last month when a band that included Haddonfield and Haddon Township high-school alumni, including best-selling, Detroit-based author, Mitch Albom, canceled a sock hop after poor ticket sales. But the Holiday House Tour saved the day and repairs to the auditorium are expected to start early next year.

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