17-year-old Turns Down $80,000 College Scholarship Because of Gun Violence in Chicago
Lander Braggs, a 17-year-old high school senior who wants a career in engineering, was offered a full tuition scholarship -- worth almost $80,000 -- to the prestigious Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, but he turned down the offer because of the city's increasing gun violence. "With all that's going on in Chicago, with all the violence and everything, I just wanted a different environment," he says. "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." (He says the shooting death of a 17-year boy in the neighborhood made him think twice. Coupled with that fact that since January, there has been 119 murders in Chicago.) The scholarship to ITT wasn't a full-ride scholarship, which would mean Lander would need to travel from his home in the Chatham neighborhood to the ITT campus the Bronzeville neighborhood. He has accepted a scholarship to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. That scholarship also only covers tuition, but his mother will take out loans to pay for room and board. "If I have to pay something that's fine. I don't want to have to look at my watch and say its 3:30, 4:30 I haven't heard from him and worry everyday if he's safe," his mother says.