Mary Stark Elementary in Mandan was awarded a grant that supports wellness in schools — one of only four in the nation to get it.

The American Heart Association awards schools with its Kids Heart Challenge twice a year. This grant provides funds for water bottle filling stations physical activity equipment and education.

Mary Stark Elementary will be receiving a little more than $3,000.

Collin Vander Wal, a physical education teacher at the school, applied for the grant after seeing a need for more gym equipment.

He said they’ll use the funds to purchase a portable volleyball net and more volleyballs so students can enjoy the game during PE.

“I’m always looking to add more things for the students to do to give them experiences that they can use for the rest of their lives. At our school, even though it’s elementary, we don’t have a lot of volleyball equipment; even though it’s kind of a younger sport for them. With the netting, we can do tons of activities with it,” Vander Wal said.

Vander Wal adds he’s more than excited and that the new equipment is already on its way.

The three other schools awarded were in Florida, California and Maryland.