Kaiserslautern Middle School student wins $1,500 Exchange gift card for academic achievement

Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs
From left, Col. Scott McFarland, commander of the Exchange’s Europe/Southwest Asia region; Juan Perez, Aaron’s father; Aaron; Jennifer, Aaron’s mother; Army & Air Force Exchange Manager Carl Carpenter; AAFES Main Store Manager Sam Davis; and Richard Toney, 86th Mission Support Group deputy director. — Photo by AAFES

For the second-place winner of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s worldwide You Made the Grade sweepstakes, the Kaiserslautern Military Community isn’t just a place to live – it’s an opportunity to broaden horizons.
Aaron Perez, a seventh-grader at Kaiserslautern Middle School, received his prize, a $1,500 Exchange gift card, during a Jan. 27 presentation at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center Exchange. Col. Scott McFarland, commander of the Exchange’s Europe/Southwest Asia region, and Richard Toney, deputy director of the 86th Mission Support Group, congratulated Aaron on his win.
“The KMCC Exchange is privileged to honor Aaron’s exemplary academic performance with this prize,” McFarland said. “We know Aaron will do great things in the future and can’t wait to see the heights to which he’ll soar as his academic career progresses.”
Through the You Made the Grade program, first- through 12th-graders who maintain a B average or higher are eligible to receive a coupon book filled with Exchange discounts and a sweepstakes entry form for a shot at a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 Exchange gift card.
Aaron, 12, was one of three winners randomly selected from more than 550 eligible entries. He said he plans to use the gift card to purchase a laptop to help with his schoolwork.
Since moving to Kaiserslautern two years ago, Aaron has taken full advantage of living in the heart of Europe. Earlier this month, he traveled to the Swiss Alps for the Boy Scouts’ annual Klondike event, and recently traveled to Naples, Italy, for a Boy Scouts summer camp.
“I like meeting new people and staying in new places,” Aaron said.
Aaron’s father, Sgt. 1st Class Juan Perez, is an Army Reservist serving in the 7th Mission Support Command. He said the frequent moves of a military lifestyle have not always been easy, but Aaron has always found a way to make the most of it.
“It’s exciting to be in a new place, but it’s also sad to leave the place we were at,” Perez said. “Our children are really resilient in that aspect, and they’ve learned to adapt. It’s hard to leave behind those friends they’ve made in the past, but they’ve become very social and can make new ones easily.”
Students and guardians can contact the KMCC Exchange at 06371-4079100 for more information about the You Made the Grade program. Students can send You Made the Grade sweepstakes entry forms, which are included in the coupon booklets, to: You Made the Grade, PO Box 227398, Dallas, TX 75222-7398.