Booker wins Oklahoma 4-H’s highest honor
Monday, August 3, 2020
Tori Booker certainly has made a name for herself in Jackson County’s 4-H Youth Development Program. She’s the first 4-H’er from that county to be inducted into the prestigious Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame.
Booker, a member of the Altus 4-H Club, was recognized during the Honors Night Assembly during the recent 99th State 4-H Roundup. Traditionally held on the Oklahoma State University campus, this year’s event was organized virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also received a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by Oklahoma Ag Credit.
“Through her drive and determination, Tori has definitely put Jackson County on the map with her 4-H Work,” said Halee Salmon, OSU Extension 4-H educator in Jackson County. “Yes, she has contributed a lot at the state level, but she knows – and reminds me – that she’s a Jackson County 4-H’er first and foremost. When I first came to Jackson County, she basically met me at the door with her plan and goals. We’ve been working on marking things off that list ever since. She is a great role model not only in 4-H, but for others as well. I’m very proud of Tori and am blessed to be her 4-H educator.”
When asked what 4-H inspires her to do, Booker said, “Get up and make a difference.” She has been making a difference for 10 years.
Her 4-H career began on the farm where her family grew wheat and raised cattle. As a youngster, Booker said she was open to anything that would get her out of the house, so she and her sister began showing pigs. She soon broadened her interests and became active in the Jackson County Sewing Club.
“This was a great first project for me when I became a 4-H Club member,” Booker said. “I loved my leader – she was passionate about helping us – and taught things in a way that I could understand. Because of her caring heart, I learned the importance of having concern for others.”
Booker began honing her leadership skills and first proved herself in fifth grade when she was elected club reporter. After that first election, Booker said she was hooked for life. She found other leadership roles down the road at the local, county, district and state levels, including Southwest District representative, Southwest District secretary and State 4-H Ambassador, and as a member of the Healthy Living Ambassador team. She is active in project areas including citizenship, shotgun shooting sports and food showdown, and has served as a delegate to Citizenship Washington Focus, National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference.
One project of which she is particularly proud is the Change for Change program, which benefits the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Foundation.
“After attending my first State 4-H Roundup, I took the initiative to make Change for Change prominent in my county,” she said. “By speaking to people, putting out change jars, hosting contests and other hard work, I’ve been able to raise over $4,000 for this project. The civic engagement portion of 4-H has really helped me grow as an individual and learning what I can do to make our nation’s future better.”
Other 4-H activities and awards include Key Club, Jackson County Senior Hall of Fame, state record book winner and recognition as a Noble Cause – Teens Making a Difference winner. High school activities and honors include KAY Club, Student Council, Girls State and National Honor Society.
In addition to being inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame during the Honors Night Assembly, Booker also was awarded the $1,200 Ira Hollar Advanced Leadership Scholarship sponsored by Bill Doenges; the $1,200 Rule of Law Graduating Senior Scholarship sponsored by the Rule of Law Endowment; and the $2,500 Edmonson Ambassador Scholarship sponsored by the Edmonson Ambassador Endowment. She also was named a Blue Award Group member.
“4-H took me in at my weakest and made me my strongest,” Booker said. “This organization has been a constant in my life since I was a 7-year-old Cloverbud. The experiences, conferences and trips have opened my eyes to a whole world outside of Jackson County and Oklahoma. There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today, or where I’m going, without Oklahoma 4-H.”
Booker said her 4-H connection to OSU has led her to attend the university this fall with plans to major in agri-business. She is a 2020 graduate of Altus High school and the daughter of Ronnie and Pam Booker.