Camp Foster student wins $2000 Exchange gift card for academic success

U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman
U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman

Camp Foster student wins $2000 Exchange gift card for academic success

by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman
Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs

CAMP FOSTER – It was a typical Tuesday morning at the Eskew house as the children were getting ready for school when Jamie, Brooke’s mother and a kindergarten teacher at Killin Elementary School on Camp Foster, opened an email from the Exchange and read that Brooke won first place in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s You Made the Grade sweepstakes.

Wide-eyed and in awe, she told Brooke that she won the first-place prize—a $2000 Exchange gift card.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to concentrate on my schoolwork today,” Brooke said excitedly.

The 4th grader at Killin Elementary School and her family, father, Gunnery Sgt. Phil Eskew, Expeditionary Firefighting & Rescue Operations Chief for Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Jamie and her brother Brayden, 2nd grader, joined Headquarters and Support Battalion’s command team, Col. Jeffrey Hammond, commander and Sgt. Maj. Brian Drechsler, senior enlisted leader, AAFES Pacific Region command team Lt. Col. Michael Kovalchek, commander, Sgt. Maj. Wayne Crudup, senior enlisted leader, David Swenson, Okinawa Exchange general manager and Tonja Norris, Camp Foster Exchange’s store manager for the official presentation on Jan. 26.

“Brooke has always been a wonderful student…full of curiosity, ambition and very well-behaved,” Jamie said. “In fact, as her mom, I was able to witness her studious demeanor myself when she was a student in my first grade class.”

At school, Brooke’s favorite classes are writing and Physical Education. At the age of 10, she had some of her written pieces chosen for publication in both Stars and Stripes, an American military newspaper, and in the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Pacific Sun magazine in 2021. 

The You Made the Grade program is one of many ways the Exchange gives back to their community. According to the DoDEA, military children change schools an average of three times more often than their counterparts and move six to nine times during their school years.

Brooke has earned a $5 Exchange gift card every grading period since 2017 by participating in the You Made the Grade program, which rewards students in first through 12th grades, to include home schooled students, who achieve at least a B average on their report cards. The gift cards include a mail-in entry form to a worldwide sweepstakes held in December and June for a chance to win a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 Exchange gift card.

According to Jamie, Brooke is going to have a difficult time spending $2000. Brooke told her, “Mom, it’s going to be real tough seeing it go from $2000 to $0 but it will be fun trying.” 

Photo caption: On Jan. 26, Brooke Eskew, 4th grader at Killin Elementary School and 1st place winner in the Exchange’s You Made the Grade sweepstakes poses for a picture with her father, Gunnery Sgt. Phil Eskew, Expeditionary Firefighting & Rescue Operations Chief for Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, mother, Jamie and her brother Brayden along with Headquarters and Support Battalion’s command team, Col. Jeffrey Hammond, commander and Sgt. Maj. Brian Drechsler, senior enlisted leader, AAFES Pacific Region command team Lt. Col. Michael Kovalchek, commander, Sgt. Maj. Wayne Crudup, senior enlisted leader, David Swenson, Okinawa Exchange general manager and Tonja Norris, Camp Foster’s store manager, at the official presentation of a $2000 Exchange gift card. The Exchange has been rewarding students with a $5 Exchange gift card for maintaining at least a B average, each quarter, for the past 22 years with a chance to win $2000, $1500 and $500 twice a year in a worldwide sweepstakes held in December and June.

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