CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 200 eighth grade students from around the state are now knights and ladies of the Golden Horseshoe. They were inducted into the prestigious society Thursday morning at the state Culture Center in Charleston.
The award has been handed out since 1931 to the students who score highest in their county on the Golden Horseshoe test. About 22,000 eighth graders take the test each year. Only one percent make the grade.
Emily Fisher of Mountaineer Middle School in Monongalia County is now a lady of the Golden Horseshoe. Her mother Kathy, who was in the audience for the ceremony, never had any doubts.
“She announced in sixth grade that she was going to go for Golden Horseshoe. She stuck to her word and she got it, ” explained her mom.
Emily admits she was determined. That’s because it runs in the family. “To me it was a big honor because it’s something my family values. My grandfather got one back in 1956,” according to Emily.
However, she had to work for it. Of the six recipients of the Golden Horseshoe from Monongalia County, five attend Mountaineer Middle School.
“The kids worked together brilliantly,” said Kathy Fisher. “They did a lot of partnering work and a lot of pre-class start time, early school days and after school. It was a big group effort for them to do it.”
Standing right beside Emily was her best friend Victoria Dean. This time last year, she didn’t know what the Golden Horseshoe test was. That’s because she was living in Kingsport, Tennessee. She moved to Morgantown in June. When school started in the fall, she decided to learn all about her new state and ended up as a Golden Horseshoe winner.
“It was hard but when you have a really great teacher who really instills hard work into you and allows you to learn so much, you can do it!”
Before the students were inducted into the society, they gathered for a group picture on the steps of the state Capitol. Emily said it was a highlight of her day.
“It’s amazing to see all these kids from different parts of the state. We all have something in common. We all put the hard work in, all together, to get this big honor,” she said.
The number of winners is determined by population but every county is given a minimum of two winners.