CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – For the first time in recent history, a local county fair is being dedicated to the memory of a beloved teacher.
The 2021 Cleveland County Free Fair is dedicated to the memory of Dale Horton.
“Each year we honor a fair family and a fair patron, but this is the first time, to my knowledge, we have dedicated an entire fair to someone,” said Fair Board President Jake Calvert. “The fair board voted on this and approved it unanimously due to the impact Dale had not only on the fair but on the youth of Cleveland County.”
Horton started teaching agriculture at Norman High School in 1976 before moving to Noble High School in 1979 where he taught for the next 25 years.
“As a member of 4-H as a kid I remember Dale Horton, and the impact he had on the program in Cleveland County then,” said County Commissioner Darry Stacy. “Throughout his life, Dale not only taught students, he mentored other teachers. He taught what he knew and what he had experience doing. He was deeply invested in Cleveland County and its young people.”
Organizers say his leadership and training allowed him to mentor 26 student agriculture education teachers.
“Our teachers are important and a teacher like Dale Horton who works on leadership and agricultural projects with kids can really be a positive role model in youth development,” said County Commissioner Harold Haralson. “I appreciate that the fair board chose to honor Dale in this way.”
Horton’s achievements led him to serve as the President of the State Oklahoma Association of Agriculture Education Association in 1983.
In 2005, he received the National Association Agricultural Education Region II Mentor Teacher Award. He was also inducted into the Oklahoma Agriculture Education Teacher Hall of Fame in 2007 and as the Noble Public Schools Hall of Fame Teacher of Year in 2015.