May 3, 2019


2019 Golden Horseshoe Winners on Stage


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Today, 223 eighth-graders from across the state received recognition as Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. This recognition honors students earning the highest achievement in knowledge of West Virginia history and culture.

Governor Justice joined West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine to induct students from all 55 counties and students from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind as Knights of the Golden Horseshoe during a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, W.Va.

“I am just so proud of these students for earning this top honor,” Gov. Justice said. “The Golden Horseshoe stresses the importance of learning about our great state and I know these students will serve as ambassadors for West Virginia for years to come.”

The Golden Horseshoe award is considered one of the greatest honors bestowed upon students in West Virginia.

“This group of incredible students continue the tradition of excellence that is highly respected in West Virginia,” Paine said. “They are the ‘all-staters’ of West Virginia history and I know they take great pride in the Mountain State.”

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 303rd 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 complete list of 2019 winners can be found by visiting:

Photos from today’s event can be found by visiting or