Horton inspires students to become compassionate and successful citizens

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Logan Horton has always been an inspiration to others. Now, as a teacher at Chickasaw Middle School, he has an even better opportunity to encourage young people to be their best.

Horton has a miraculous story that has allowed him to reach his goals.

When he was born four months early on Jan. 26, 1993, at USA Women and Children’s Medical Center, his chances of survival were slim.

Horton was born with bronchial pulmonary dysplasia, which required medication to develop his lungs to full capacity. An open-heart surgery and cranial bleed kept Logan in the hospital until June, and he was later diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy.

In his early years, Logan struggled with speech and motor skills, but he was determined to achieve his dreams. His parents, he said, were equally excited to push their son to become a successful young man.

“My parents were extreme believers in getting me help at a very early age, which is incredible,” he said. “They invested heavily in physical therapy at an early age, speech therapy, and all that stuff to make sure I was getting all the help I needed early on.”

Horton pushed forward with speech and physical therapy and an IEP.

During his elementary- and middle-school years, Logan said that having a stutter and IEP made him fear that people would see him as different.

“In the mind of a child, I did not know how to express that or know the words for that or what that feeling was,” he said.

Logan said he struggled with math during third through fifth grade, but soon found that remedial classes were an eye-opener. He began to enjoy the subject because he no longer felt pressured and soon began to excel. Several things fell into place from there.

Braces from 2003 to 2010 gave Logan a straighter smile and more confidence and his grades began to climb even higher.

During his junior year at Clarke County High School, Logan said he was first introduced to the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its programs. He was told he would be a great fit for the Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum as well.

Logan was chosen as a delegate and given the opportunity to spend a week at Troy University, which he said was an enlightening experience.

“That was the first time my eyes were really opened to how wide of a spectrum of students with disabilities is, because there were a whole host of people there who had what some may consider mild disabilities to very challenging disabilities,” he said. “It really created a strong desire within me to show empathy to everyone.”

The lessons he learned at YLF allowed Logan to return to Grove Hill with a desire to be a leader and help others. Like many educators, there were teachers along the way who fueled a desire to teach. For Logan, it was Allen Floyd.

“He was the most awesome teacher I’ve ever had in terms of the way he held our attention and the things he’d do in class,” he said. “He really cared about his students.”

Logan said he had known since he was 15 that he wanted to be a teacher, but now, between YLF and the lessons he learned from Floyd, he knew what it took to be a leader. He had launched a Bible study group as a junior to mentor freshmen that continued with even more momentum through his senior year. He continued to work with his VR counselor, Connie Smith, and earned straight As the first nine-weeks of his senior year. His hard work paid off, and Logan found himself at Troy University the next fall where he earned a 3.08 grade-point average his first semester. Struggles his second semester lit a fire in Logan who maintained a 3.0 the rest of his college career.

His teaching career, like many starting out, took a few twists and turns before he found his calling. He earned experience as a substitute teacher in Clarke County before working at a testing center in Mobile. Soon after marrying his wife Kelsey in June of 2017, Logan accepted a job at the Florida Prep Academy in Melbourne teaching English to officially begin his teaching career. From there, Logan joined the staff of Valiant Cross Academy in Montgomery before an old mentor and friend, David Wofford, asked him to apply for his current position at Chickasaw Middle School.

Logan, who joined the Chickasaw team in the fall of 2019, said he knew he had found his home.

Now, in his second semester on the job, he remains fueled to help the students see how great they are and how great they can be. He said he pushes them every day to do more than they have ever done to be successful, because he has seen first-hand how hard work and a hunger to learn can open the door to a person’s goals.

Most importantly, he added, he wants them to stay motivated to be good people and help their fellow man.

“I want them to understand the importance of being a good person and a kind person,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, all you are is how you treat someone else who can do nothing for you.”

Logan has already had an enormous impact on his students and continues to take on new challenges and roles. He has already become a favorite, because the students know they can count on Mr. Horton to offer a kind word or gesture of encouragement.

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