NEW MANCHESTER — Oak Glen Middle School eighth-grade students Ethan Delekta and Joshua Lehman have been named winners of the prestigious Golden Horseshoe Award. West Virginia Studies teacher James Brandolino was also selected as an honorary recipient of the Golden Horseshoe.
The program takes its name from the golden horseshoes given to early explorers of West Virginia, according to the West Virginia Department of Education. In 1716, the governor of the Virginia colony, Alexander Spotswood, saw the need for exploration of the land now known as West Virginia and presented each member of an exploration party with a small golden horseshoe to commemorate their bravery.
The Golden Horseshoe Test, administered to all eighth-grade students in the state, covers citizenship, government, economics, geography, history, and current events. A minimum of two students from each of West Virginia’s 55 counties are presented with the award.
This year’s recipients were inducted as Knights and Ladies into the Golden Horseshoe Society by State Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine, where they received a Golden Horseshoe pin. They were also treated to a tour of the Capitol and Cultural Center and a luncheon held in their honor.
Brandolino said honorary recipients had to have taught West Virginia studies for at least 20 years and and have produced at least 10 winners. Brandolino has taught West Virginia studies for 38 years and has taught 22 Golden Horseshoe winners.
“It’s really a neat way to go out,” said Brandolino, who is retiring at the end of this school year. “I’m honored but it’s really more of a reflection of the kids than it is of myself. But it’s an honor and it’s a treat.”
“He is a very dedicated master teacher who has given a lot,” said OGMS principal Donna Popovich. “He’s an outstanding person and teacher.”
Brandolino has taught in Hancock County for a total of 39 years and has been nominated by his peers as Hancock County Teacher of the Year four times. He has also served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department and has been honored at Marshall University as an outstanding educator for contributing to the success of his students.
Delekta, the son of John and Valerie Delekta of New Cumberland, is in the OGMS band, track team, wrestling team,and football team. He placed third in the OVAC Wrestling Tournament and has won the West Liberty State College SMART Center chess championship twice. Delekta also studies karate and collects medieval weapons and artifacts. He would like to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Lehman, the son of Charles and Cynthia Lehman of New Cumberland, is in the OGMS band and is the track team statistician. He won the county writing contest as a seventh grader. Lehman collects coins and would like to become a family physician.