Litten, Spade & O’Brien are Golden Horseshoe winners

by Kate Evans

Warm Springs Middle School eighth graders Landon Litten, Camden Spade, and Adam O’Brien are the three 2022 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 West Virginia student can achieve.

The 2022 Golden Horseshoe Award winners for Morgan County are Warm Springs Middle School eighth graders (left to right) Adam O’Brien, Landon Litten and Camden Spade.

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,” state officials said.

Litten, Spade and O’Brien will be inducted as Knights of the Golden Horseshoe at a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston on June 14 and will join 221 other winners from other counties in the state for the celebration.