Young Scholars Earn Prizes Worth $4,000 in Exchange’s You Made the Grade Contest

DALLAS – Three young military students discovered that getting good grades pays off, as each was recently presented the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade sweepstakes winning prizes.

The grand-prize winner, Gerald Wells, a fifth-grader from Joint Base Charleston, was presented with a $2,000 Exchange gift card. Second-place winner, Alanna Morales, a ninth-grader from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was given a $1,500 Exchange gift card. Third-place winner, Amy Fowler, a second-grade student from Fort Rucker, received a $500 Exchange gift card.

Since being launched in February 2000, the Exchange’s You Made the Grade program has rewarded nearly 200 military students for their academic achievements by handing out savings bonds and Exchange gift cards worth $540,000.

This trio of students epitomizes the dedication and commitment that they have seen while growing up in military families. Gerald is the son of retired Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, Gerald Wells, Sr., who served in the Navy for 20 years. Alanna’s father, Air Force Maj. Juan Morales, served first with the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico before being commissioned in the Air Force OTS. Amy is the daughter of Warrant Officer Paul Fowler, who has served in the Army for 12 years.

The three winners’ thoughts regarding what they intend on doing with their prizes covers a range of practicalities and possibilities. Gerald, 10, is planning on putting it toward clothes and shoes for the upcoming school year—and a few toys. Alanna, 13, expects to use part of her winnings to buy a phone for her 12-year-old brother. Amy, 8, wants to use it to purchase “school stuff” for the upcoming year.

“The Exchange is constantly finding ways to invest in the lives of Airmen, Soldiers and their families,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “We applaud these three sweepstakes winners for striving and succeeding in the classroom.”

The You Made the Grade program gives first through 12th-graders with a B average or higher the chance to win Exchange gift cards. These three contest winners were randomly selected from more than 900 entries.

For more information about the overall program, students, parents and guardians can contact their local Exchange.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 61st-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.4 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at


Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative, please contact Doug Brodess, 214-312-3393 or

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