221 West Virginia Students are Honored as Golden Horseshoe Winners

May 20, 2004

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Two hundred twenty-one West Virginia eighth graders were presented the prestigious Golden Horseshoe Award for outstanding performance on the test measuring students’ knowledge of the state’s history and culture.  

State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart inducted the students as “knights” and “ladies” of the Golden Horseshoe Society in ceremonies on May 20 at the Cultural Center in Charleston.  

Golden Horseshoe

“This induction ceremony creates life-long memories and tremendous pride for students, their families and friends,” Dr. Stewart said. “This unique award is coveted by many in the state, but received by very few. It is an honor that rewards students’ appreciation for and understanding of the Mountain State and its people.”  

The Golden Horseshoe originated in the early 1700s in Virginia when then-Governor Alexander Spotswood saw the need for exploration of the land west of the Allegheny Mountains, most of which is now West Virginia.  

“The governor organized a party of about 50 men to explore the frontier,” explained West Virginia Department of Education Social Studies Coordinator Sharon Flack. “At the end of the exploration, he presented each member of the party with a golden horseshoe. Translated from Latin, the inscription on each horseshoe read, ‘Thus it was decided to cross the mountains.’ On the other side was written, ‘Order of the Golden Horseshoe.’ Because of this, the recipients became known as ‘The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.’”  

Golden Horseshoe

The Golden Horseshoe Test has been administered in West Virginia each year since 1931 and is the longest running program of its kind in any state. The top-scoring students in each county receive the prestigious award.  

List of Winners (Word Format) http://wvde.state.wv.us/tt/2004/gh2004.doc  

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