03/21/2013 02:05 pm ET

Liquor Store School Scholarship: Chicago Parents Balk At Shop's Offer To Elementary Students

While booze and studies are common for college kids, the two don't exactly go hand-in-hand for elementary schoolers. For that reason, some parents at a Chicago school are balking at a pair of academic scholarships furnished by an area liquor store.

According to Fox Chicago, Happy Liquor And Foods at East 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in the city's Chatham neighborhood has offered two $500 math and science-oriented scholarships for students at McDade Classical School.

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Parents called the liquor store sponsorship "concerning," while McDade mom Lashandria Sanderson told Fox, "From a liquor store, that doesn't sound like something that I would want to take a scholarship from...It just doesn't sound good.

Juan Alvarez, a manager at the 40-year-old store told DNAinfo Chicago the business just wants to give back to the community and make a difference.

"The money for the scholarships will come from our sales and will go toward the best student in math and science," Alvarez said to DNAinfo.

However, Happy Liquors has also been on a campaign to clean up its image after a temporary shutdown in 2011 over building violations, prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to label it a "troubled business."

Since the shutdown, Happy Liquors has pulled malt liquors and fortified wines from its shelves, with Alvarez telling DNAinfo selling the inexpensive and high-alcohol drinks attracted "the wrong types of customers." In addition, the store stopped selling blunt-style cigars often associated with marijuana use and cracked down on security and loitering.

The McDade sixth graders will receive the scholarships in June despite concerns. DNAinfo reports Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) selected the school to receive the awards.



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