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Lander Braggs was a model student: making good grades, involved in school and staying out of trouble. So when it came time to pick a college, many schools came knocking, including one prestigious Chicago school that came with an $80,000 free ride. But the 17-year old African American high school senior says he gave up that scholarship because of the city’s violence.

Braggs, who wants to study engineering, says he turned down a full tuition $80,000 scholarship to attend the prestigious Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) because he fears becoming a victim of Chicago’s inner city violence. He says that at first he was very excited about being offered the scholarship, but then he changed his mind.

He comments, “I’m just thinking, like, I don’t want that for me. I want to be able to just go through life and not have to worry about what’s going to happen to me tomorrow. With all that’s going on in Chicago, with all the violence and everything, I just wanted a different environment.”

He also told reporters that he knows that crime can happen anywhere and he realizes that some people won’t agree with his decision, but he is doing what’s comfortable for him. He also says he hopes that this brings much-needed attention to the impact that violence has on young African-American men like himself.

Braggs’ mother Nicole Howell says she fully supports his decision. She says says she can’t…

WOW: Student Gives Up $80K Full Ride Because Of Chicago Violence  was originally published on

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