FORT STEWART, Ga. - Seventeen year-old Jasmine Gilmore is $2,000 richer because she made the grades. In a small ceremony inside the Fort Stewart Army and Air Force Exchange Services main store, Gilmore was awarded $2,000 in savings bonds by Fort Stewart's Main Exchange store manager, Donald Basil, Oct. 5.

Eleven years ago, a worldwide initiative came into fruition with the Exchange "You Made the Grade Program." According to the Exchange Web site, the program was created to inspire students to make above average academic grades and to continue to work hard scholastically.

Giving back to her community is a lifelong course for Gilmore. As a Family Member and a senior at Bradwell Institute here in Liberty County, Gilmore said she plans use the money for college and attend Valdosta State University in the Fall of 2012 to study nursing.

"Growing up I was a Girl Scout… and I like helping people, so it [nursing] was my first choice," Gilmore explained.

Students must have an overall "B" average or better to participate in the program and Gilmore exceeded the requirement immensely.

"Currently, I have a 97 average," added Gilmore.

Gilmore won third place in the contest. She is the second Fort Stewart youth to win the world-wide drawing. Students can register by bringing their valid military ID and report cards to their local Exchange to enter the annual drawing.

Basil said the program is a large way for the Exchange to give back to the military connected youths who push themselves academically.

"I think it's great," said Basil. "It's a great thing for the community, and it's one of the things the exchange offers that makes us part of the community."

Each year the Exchange awards $40,000 in savings bonds to military connected students.

Three savings bonds in the amounts of $5,000, $3,000 or $2,000 are offered to participating contestants. Students who have the opportunity to participate in this contest drawing must attend a public, private or Department of Defense school or show proof of homeschooling.

To find out more information on the "You Made the Grade Program," log onto