GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The ball was in Heatly School’s court for the Watervliet Elks Hoop Shoot this past weekend. Fourth graders Aliyah Carrington and Grayson Heffern, fifth grader Yamier Singleton, and sixth graders Emily Mazzeo and Donovan Carrington competed in the free throw contest that promotes “grit” in kids at the Watervliet-Colonie No. 1500 Lodge.

“All five Heatly students gave the contest their all, and did so while exemplifying good sportsmanship,” a spokesperson for Green Island Union Free School District said. Fourth graders Grayson and Aliyah did exceptionally well, as they scored enough points to move on to the district competition in Albany in January.

There, the two Heatly students will face off against young scholars from other communities who also won their Elk Lodge Hoop Shoot contests. All participants will compete for a chance to advance to the State Hoop Shoot contest that will take place sometime in 2023.

The Hoop Shoot program is part of the Elks’ effort to reinforce grit among children. The “grit movement” started a few years ago based on the research of psychologist Angela Duckworth. She studied people in difficult situations, ranging from National Spelling Bee participants to West Point cadets. Her research “suggested that grit was a more accurate predictor of success than social intelligence, good looks, physical health, or IQ.”