by Kate Evans
Three Warm Springs Middle School eighth graders — Connor Hoover, Daniel Clark and Lee Sheppard — are the 2021 Morgan County
winners of the Golden Horseshoe Award.
The prestigious Golden Horseshoe award recognizes state students that excel in West Virginia history and culture and is given to the top-scoring eighth grade students on the Golden Horseshoe exam in each of the state’s 55 counties. The award is considered one of the greatest honors a student from West Virginia can achieve.
The Golden Horseshoe exam tests students’ knowledge of West Virginia citizenship, government, civics, economics, culture, history, geography and current events. Eighth grade students learn about the state through a comprehensive curriculum in preparation for the annual test. The Golden Horseshoe test has been given every year in West Virginia since 1931.
The Golden Horseshoe originated in 1716 when Virginia Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood organized an expedition of around 50 men to explore the frontier west of the Allegheny Mountains in what is now mostly West Virginia. Governor Spotswood gave each explorer a commemorative golden horseshoe after they returned from their journey.
Students that receive the honor are generally knighted and become Knights or Ladies of the Order of the Golden Horseshoe to commemorate the travels of the early West Virginia explorers. The Golden Horseshoe Award has become “a symbol of the scholastic
achievement to honor students who excel in the study of West Virginia,” according to the West Virginia Department of Education website.
The primary goal of the Golden Horseshoe Award program is to “promote pride in our state, develop intellectual and participatory skills as well as foster attitudes that are necessary for students to participate as effective, involved and responsible citizens,” officials said.
Since the program began in 1931, some 15,000 students have received the honor along with their keepsake Golden Horseshoe pins. Some 222 West Virginia eighth graders received the Golden Horseshoe Award this year.