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Moundsville Middle School students Roman Gray and Sybil Willis along with Sherrard Middle School student Katrina Perry were recognized for their outstanding knowledge of West Virginia history by being named the 2019 West Virginia Golden Horseshoe winners in Marshall County.

The three Marshall County students joined 220 additional 8th graders from across the Mountain State Friday morning for a celebration at the WV Culture Center in Charleston. During a formal pinning ceremony, students were inducted as “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Society.”

Since 1931, more than 15,000 West Virginia students have received the Golden Horseshoe Award in recognition of their knowledge of West Virginia history and culture.

The Golden Horseshoe test is not a statewide competition which means 8th grade students compete against other 8th grade students who attend school in their own county.  The number of winners per county is based on population. Students with the highest scores in each county earn the distinguished Golden Horseshoe award.

2019 marks the 303rd anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe tradition, which began in 1716 when then-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 of the Golden Horseshoe.”

The program is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States.