Golden Horseshoe

Award winners should be proud of achievement

At the end of the school year, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine inducted 221 students as Knights and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe, recognizing their knowledge of our state’s culture and history.

For many young people, this award is among the highest honors they will receive during their academic careers.

In fact, there are more than a few adults who still toss into conversation now and then that they became part of this elite group during their school days.

Pride in such an accomplishment is natural. What is more important is the perspective these students gain as they continue to work to understand the Mountain State’s past and present, while preparing to lead us into its future.

“As a former West Virginia studies teacher, I am beyond proud of each of these students, not only for their knowledge of West Virginia history, but for their pride in our state,” Paine said.

And that is the key. Many of the young people who studied their state thoroughly enough to warrant this kind of recognition will be more likely to stick around and be vital parts of the transition we all know must take place. They will write the next chapters studied by Golden Horseshoe honorees of future generations.

Knights and Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe each receive a small golden horseshoe they can wear on their lapels, if they wish. More than 300 years ago, when then-Virginia Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood presented members of his expeditionary party with golden horseshoes, they read, in part, “Thus he swears to cross the mountains,” inscribed in Latin. There are plenty of figurative mountains in our path now.

But we will cross them. Certainly with the help of the kind of young people who are dedicated enough to West Virginia to earn membership into this prestigious group, the possibilities are endless.