GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — One school in Wayne County — Norwayne Middle — has been selected to receive half a million dollar grant for a new language program.

The grant, designed to be used over the next five years, will be for a new Mandarin Chinese program.

Awarded by the Department of Defense Education Activity, the grant is intended to target military-connected students.

Dr. Maguy Yancey, the Coordinator of Remote Learning, Language & Cultural Education for Wayne County Public Schools, said while the grant will target these students, it will also benefit all students at the school.

So, why Mandarin?

“Mandarin Chinese is the fastest-growing language in North Carolina,” Dr. Yancey said.

Further, Dr. Yancey said the program will help “promote, enrich and sustain early language exposure to enhance bilingualism, biliteracy and cultural awareness.”

A release from the school district said students will sharpen their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Cultural components will also be embedded into the learning process.

“Norwayne students will be able to reflect on their own culture and the target culture and also work collaboratively with another school district in Zhejiang to enrich language and culture appreciation,” Dr. Yancey added.

While this program is for students in grades 6-8, those who wish to continue their education in Mandarin Chinese will be able to continue learning by way of the North Carolina Virtual Public School, officials said in a release.

The grant is funded through the DoDEA Partnership and Resources Division. WCPS was eligible because it has at least one school with a 10 percent military-connected student population.

Since 2012, WCPS has been awarded $2.6 million in DoDEA grants to support military-connected students.