5 Marion County students to become Knights of the Golden Horseshoe

May 5—FAIRMONT — Five Marion County middle school students are among a group of 226 West Virginia students who will officially be named Knights of the Golden Horseshoe next week at a ceremony in Charleston.

Officials from the West Virginia Department of Education will host three separate ceremonies to announce the honors for 2023 at the West Virginia Culture Center, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston.

Marion County students are Cooper Keener, Alexander Merrifield, (Ava) Echo Smith, Julius Zinn — all from West Fairmont Middle School and Ashleigh Waldron of East Fairmont Middle School.

The first ceremony begins at 9 a.m. and recognizes recipients from the following Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Putnam, Roane, Wayne and Wirt counties.

The second ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and recognizes recipients from Gilmer, Greenbrier, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pleasants, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Summers, Tyler, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wood, Wyoming counties and West Virginia Public Charter Schools.

The third ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. and recognizes recipients from Barbour, Berkeley, Brooke, Doddridge, Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jefferson, Marshall, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Taylor, Tucker counties and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

This year marks the 307th anniversary of the Golden Horseshoe legacy, and it remains the longest-running program of its kind in the country with the annual state recognitions dating back to 1931. The program's legacy dates back to 1716 when Governor of the Virginia Colony Alexander Spotswood organized and recognized a delegation of men who explored the land west of the Allegheny Mountains (most of which is now West Virginia). He presented each of them a small golden horseshoe to commemorate their bravery for crossing the mountain.