West Virginia Virtual Academy is proud to announce two of our students are Golden Horseshoe winners.
After receiving high scores on the Golden Horseshoe test, which focuses on West Virginia history, eighth graders Ky’Aira Anderson and Kingston Digman of WVVA will receive the prestigious and historic Golden Horseshoe Award at the annual Golden Horseshoe Ceremony.
Anderson and Digman will be recognized as Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Society by the West Virginia Department of Education at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston on Tuesday, June 13, along with more than 200 other students from across the state.
Before the ceremony, our student honorees will tour the state’s Capitol Complex and attend a reception in honor of all the winners. During the ceremony, students kneel and receive a tap of a sword on their shoulder, officially becoming Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Society and are presented with a pin in the shape of a golden horseshoe.
WVVA eighth grader Ky’Aira Anderson credits her teacher for finding success with the Golden Horseshoe test.
“I really enjoyed this class; it was super fun, and Ms. Godfrey was super patient with me when I was struggling with certain assignments, which was really helpful,” Anderson says. “I believe this achievement will further help me to get into colleges, and it would help me to find a good career.”
Eighth grade students in the state, including at WVVA and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind, are administered the Golden Horseshoe exam every year. Winners outscore their classmates in school- and county-wide testing competitions and earn top scores on a test from the WVDE, which examines their grasp of West Virginia studies. In addition, these students write an essay focusing on an aspect of current events in the state, according to the WVDE.
The origins of this prestigious award date back to the 1700s, before West Virginia gained statehood. Governor of the Virginia colony, Alexander Spotswood, first presented golden horseshoe pins in 1716 to a delegation of men to commemorate their bravery during an expedition west across the Allegheny Mountains, most of which is now modern-day West Virginia. Today, this pin symbolizes students’ knowledge and understanding of their state’s proud heritage.
In 1929, with an idea to promote the study of the state’s history, Phil M. Conley, an editor of The West Virginia Review, collaborated with State Superintendent of Free Schools, William C. Cook, to organize a way to honor high achieving students with a state award. Two years later, in 1931, 87 students from 46 counties were honored as the first Knights and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe.
Since then, more than 15,000 West Virginia eighth grade students have been initiated into the Golden Horseshoe Society.
This is the first year WVVA students have participated in the test. Having two Golden Horseshoe winners is a testament to the outstanding instruction and opportunities that WVVA provides its students, says Cheryl Stahle, principal of WVVA.
“As a first-year public charter school, this is another example of how WVVA supports the needs of students and challenges all students, not just our Golden Horseshoe winners, to excel in the classroom,” she says.
This win also cements a year of building and creating to support the families of West Virginia. Our entire faculty, especially including our eighth grade history teacher, excel in the classroom.
“Students are reaping the success of the educational quality that they are being provided,” Stahle agrees.
The Golden Horseshoe is the oldest state history test in the entire nation, and receiving it is an honor that will follow these students—with more to come in the following years—throughout their academic careers.
“Doing well on the Golden Horseshoe test demonstrates a depth of knowledge about our state that ranks among the top of all eighth graders from the 55 counties,” Stahle says. “As a new public school, to have two winners is another sign that the education provided by WVVA is as strong, if not stronger, than what is available throughout the state.”
WVVA not only encourages students to succeed, and the Golden Horseshoe is only one example of proven success. Ready to give your children the benefit of this virtual academy? Enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year is now open.
For more information about the Golden Horseshoe, please visit https://wvde.us/middle-secondary-learning/social-studies/golden-horseshoe/.