11th-Grade Military Student Wins $2,000 Gift Card from Travis AFB Exchange for Academic Performance

You Made the Grade winnerTRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE – Summer break got even better for rising high school junior Mateo Rojas—he was named the grand-prize winner in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade program.

The program rewards military students like Mateo for maintaining strong academic performance. Mateo was selected as the top winner in a worldwide drawing and received a $2,000 Exchange gift card.

Mateo was at work as a lifeguard when his older brother, who works with him, told him to check his phone for an email from their mom with the good news.

“I was shocked,” said Mateo, who attended Castro Valley High School in the Bay area before the family relocated to San Diego this summer. “Shocked and very happy.”

Mateo’s father, Capt. Rodrigo Rojas, is retiring after serving 26 years in the Coast Guard.

“The Exchange is pleased to honor the hard work and resiliency of military children like Mateo,” said Travis Air Force Base Exchange General Manager Phonda Bishop. “He’s a great example to his peers of how dedication pays off.”

Mateo has always wanted to build his own computer and will use his prize to buy the parts he needs. His favorite subjects in school include math and history, and he is interested in a career in engineering or piloting, a passion that has grown through his participation in the Civilian Air Patrol.

“In military life, you move around so much, and you have to get acclimated each time,” said Mateo’s mom, Marisol Rojas. “Mateo and his brothers, through their whole lives, have been go-getters. Through COVID, they’ve kept up their grades. Mateo winning has been very exciting for the whole family.”

The Rojas family has been entering the You Made the Grade sweepstakes since Mateo was in middle school, and his older brother even won the third-place prize in 2017.

“Now my youngest is thinking he might win, too,” Marisol said. “The program has pushed my kids and is a great motivator to keep going.”

Mateo credits his parents for his success.

“I want to thank the Exchange for this prize and also my father and mother for always working hard,” he said. “I want to thank my dad for his service, which has always brought me great opportunities like this one.”

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 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 next sweepstakes drawing will take place in December.

Facebook-friendly version: Rising high school junior Mateo Rojas won a $2,000 @shopmyexchange gift card in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade Program for maintaining good grades! The program rewards military children who keep a B average or higher in school. Congratulations to Mateo! Read more: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-1Ns.

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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 53rd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.1 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 http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Marisa Conner at 214-312-5111 or [email protected]

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