She Made the Grade! Fort Knox Fourth-Grader Scores $1,500 Exchange Gift Card for Academic Excellence

You Made the Grade Winner - Sydney Taliaferro

Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan, left, Fort Knox Exchange General Manager Donald Basil and Command Sgt. Maj. William R. Fogle present You Made the Grade second-place winner Sydney Taliaferro with a $1,500 PX gift card.

FORT KNOX – Hard work and good grades have paid off for a Fort Knox fourth-grader—to the tune of $1,500.

Nine-year-old Sydney Taliaferro, who attends Van Voorhis Elementary School on Fort Knox, took home the second-place prize in the Exchange’s worldwide You Made the Grade sweepstakes. The program celebrates military students’ academic success and resilience in the classroom.

Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan, Command Sgt. Maj. William R. Fogle and Exchange leaders presented Sydney with her $1,500 PX gift card at the Fort Knox Exchange on Jan. 28.

“The Exchange is honored to recognize Sydney for her dedication to doing well at school,” said Fort Knox Exchange General Manager Donald Basil. “She is a shining example for military kids worldwide. Hard work is rewarded—and the Exchange is proud of her.”

Sydney is the daughter of retired Master Sgt. Nick Taliaferro and Chief Warrant Officer Jonte’ia Taliaferro, who is assigned to Fort Knox. Her mother expressed excitement for her accomplishment.

“I was shocked at first,” Chief Taliaferro said. “This is a really cool program.”

Sydney’s favorite subject is math. She hopes to become an architect when she grows up.

“I was really excited when I found out that I won,” Sydney said. “I would like to thank my mom, because I would not have won without her.”

The Exchange’s You Made the Grade program, now in its 22nd year, rewards students who maintain a B average or higher with a $5 PX/BX gift card each grading period during the school year. Students can then enter the worldwide sweepstakes for a chance at a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 gift card.

Other winners of the You Made the Grade sweepstakes for the fall semester include grand-prize winner Brooke Eskew at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan, and third-place winner Alexander Popovich at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea.


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