2023 Golden Horseshoe Winners - Group 1

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) recognized 226 eighth-grade students as 2023 Knights of the Golden Horseshoe today at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston. Three ceremonies were held to honor students achieving this milestone.

The WVDE inducted the students as part of the 307th anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe legacy, recognizing them for their knowledge of West Virginia history. The exam focuses on Mountain State topics including civics, government, geography, culture and numerous other categories.

The program’s legacy dates back to 1716 when Governor of the Virginia Colony Alexander Spotswood organized and recognized a delegation of men who explored the land west of the Allegheny Mountains (most of which is now West Virginia). He presented each of them with a small golden horseshoe to commemorate their bravery in crossing the mountain. It remains the longest-running program of its kind in the country with annual state recognitions dating back to 1931.

2023 Golden Horseshoe Winners Group 2

This year features the winning knighting bench design developed and built by Cabell County Career Technology Center Students Austin Morrison and Marin Wickline.

The new bench will be used in future ceremonies and be on display at the State Museum at the West Virginia Culture Center.

“These Golden Horseshoe winners have demonstrated strong character, a thirst for knowledge, and exemplary pride in order to achieve this distinction today,” said Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “With this induction, they continue a legacy of excellence in education that gives them the opportunity to be ambassadors of the Mountain State.”

2023 Golden Horseshoe Winners - Group 3

The WVDE also celebrated four new honorary Golden Horseshoe Award recipients this year. Matthew Umstead, Pete Arvon and Michael Chirico were knighted as part of the ceremony today. First Lady Cathy Justice will be knighted during a ceremony on June 20, West Virginia Day.

View a complete list of inductees and learn more about the Golden Horseshoe program on  the WVDE Golden Horseshoe page.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

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