Star Students: Three Military Kids Win $4,000 in Exchange ‘You Made the Grade’ Sweepstakes


DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service celebrated three star students with its biannual You Made the Grade sweepstakes.

Fifth grader Naya Johnson, daughter of a naval aviator at USAG Stuttgart, took the top prize of a $2,000 Exchange gift card. Sixth grader Ayleen Castillo, whose dad is a Marine Corps sergeant, received her second-place prize of a $1,500 gift card in a ceremony at the Kadena Air Base Exchange. And fourth grader Kyrene Morgan Joves, daughter of an Army sergeant, was presented with a $500 gift card for third place at the Camp Humphreys Exchange.

The winners were randomly selected from more than 850 military children who were eligible to enter the drawing by maintaining at least a B average in school during the fall semester. Each pupil was honored with their family during a presentation by their local Exchange leaders and command.

“The You Made the Grade program encourages and motivates Ayleen to achieve scholastic excellence by helping her understand that hard work and dedication toward her academics will lead to rewarding results and benefits in her future career,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Castillo, father of the second-place winner.

The Exchange’s You Made the Grade program rewards students in first through 12th grades 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 gift card and coupon sheet. Students can then enter the worldwide sweepstakes for a chance at a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 Exchange gift card.

“Military life can bring added challenges for students, from frequent moves to parent deployments,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “The Exchange wants military kids to know that we see them and all the hard work they do.”

The winning students are already inspiring their peers—one student who saw Kyrene’s prize presentation at the Camp Humphreys Exchange ran home to get his latest report card to receive an Exchange gift card and coupon sheet.

This year’s You Made the Grade program is sponsored by American Greetings. The next sweepstakes drawing will take place in June.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen, Guardians 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 54th-largest retailer in the United States. 100% of Exchange earnings support military communities. In the last 10 years, your Exchange benefit has provided $3.5 billion in earnings for critical military Quality-of-Life programs. 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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