CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Eighth-graders from across the state received recognition as Knights and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe during a ceremony today. Two hundred and twenty-four students received this prestigious award for their outstanding knowledge of West Virginia history and culture.
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano inducted the students from all 55 counties as Knights and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe Society during a knighting ceremony at the Culture Center in Charleston. The award is considered one of the greatest honors bestowed upon students in West Virginia.
“The Golden Horseshoe is a symbol of the highest level of knowledge of West Virginia history,” Martirano said. “I am proud of every student who we recognized during this ceremony, as they are carrying on a time-honored tradition.”
Also in attendance at this year’s ceremony were Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, State Treasurer John D. Perdue, Secretary of the Department of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin and state Board of Education member Beverly Kingery.
West Virginia has administered the Golden Horseshoe test each year since 1931 and is the longest running program of its kind in the United States. The top-scoring students in each county receive the prestigious award. Each county has at least two winners. The exam tests students’ knowledge on West Virginia citizenship, civics and government, economics, geography, history and current events.
This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe tradition, which began in the early 1700s in Virginia when then-Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood saw the need for exploration of the land west of the Allegheny Mountains, most of which is now West Virginia. Spotswood organized a party of about 50 men to explore the frontier. 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 he swears 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 and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe.”
A list of the 2016 winners can be found by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/socialstudies/goldenhorseshoe.html.
Recipients of the award were encouraged to use #wvgoldenhorseshoe during the ceremony.
For additional information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.