CHARLESTON – Five Jefferson County eighth-graders will be honored Thursday at the State Capitol for winning the Golden Horseshoe contest, which assesses students’ knowledge of all things West Virginia.
Three of the county’s winners – William Shultz III, Christian Thrasher and Ryan Brigman – attend Charles Town Middle School. Samuel Dilima, a student at Shepherdstown Middle School, and Hunter Palmer, a student at Harpers Ferry Middle School, also were winners.
The contest is one of the highlights of the eighth-grade year and provides the opportunity for a student to become a Knight or Lady of the Golden Horseshoe. The prestigious program takes its name from the golden horseshoes given to the early explorers of West Virginia.
Each year, about 22,000 eighth grade students spend the school year studying a comprehensive West Virginia curriculum, including the history, geography, economy and government of the Mountain State.
The primary goal of the program is to promote pride in the state, develop intellectual skills and foster an attitudes that contributes to producing effective, involved, responsible citizens.
The Golden Horseshoe winners have outscored their classmates in school and county-wide testing competitions and have made top scores on a West Virginia Department of Education test which measures their grasp on West Virginia Studies. Students also write an essay focusing on some aspect of West Virginia current events.
Jefferson’s winners will join 116 accomplished counterparts from across the state for Thursday’s day-long ceremony. While in Charleston, the honorees are treated to a tour of the Capitol and the Cultural Center and attend luncheon held in their honor. Jorea Marple, the state schools chief, will preside at the induction ceremony.
Each student kneels and, with a tap of a sword on the shoulder, is dubbed either a Knight or Lady of the Golden Horseshoe Society. Each student is presented a Golden Horseshoe pin.
The Golden Horseshoe test has been administered in West Virginia since 1931 and is the longest-running program of its kind in any state.