Good Grades Pay! Exchange Awards $4,000 to Three Military Children for Academic Excellence

DALLAS – Good grades pay off—especially for the three young winners of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade worldwide sweepstakes.

Seventh-grader Sara Cockrell won the grand prize of a $2,000 Exchange gift card, which she received in a presentation at the Fort Bragg Exchange. Seventh-grader Bruce Birch received the second-place $1,500 prize at the Yokota Air Base Exchange, and ninth-grader Brandon Maul was awarded the $500 third-place prize at the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder Exchange. Sara is the daughter of a retired Soldier, Bruce’s father is a retired Airman and Brandon’s father currently serves in the Army.

“I was astonished,” said Sara, who received her award on her 13th birthday. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The winners were randomly selected from nearly 500 military children who were eligible to enter the drawing by maintaining at least a B average in school.

“I’m happy that Brandon’s being recognized for the hard work he does,” said 106th Financial Management Support Unit Commander Maj. Frederik Maul, the father of the third-place winner. “It’s been especially difficult during COVID because he’s not at the school and around his peers.”

The Exchange’s You Made the Grade program rewards students in first through 12th grade for above-average academic achievement to inspire them to continue striving for excellence. Military children who maintain a B average or higher can bring their report cards each grading period to their local Exchange for a $5 gift card. Students can then enter the worldwide sweepstakes for a chance at a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 Exchange gift card. The program is one example of how the Exchange provides ongoing support to the military community in ways no other retailer can.

“Being the child of a service member is very special, but it comes with a lot of challenges,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “The Exchange’s You Made the Grade program honors these students for their hard work and encourages them to persevere in school.”

The next sweepstakes drawing will take place in June.

Social-media-friendly version: Three hardworking military children won $4,000 through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade sweepstakes, which rewards military kids who maintain a B average in school. Learn more about the winners:

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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 $2.2 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 Marisa Conner at 214-312-5111 or

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