Rehan Staton, a 24-year old man from Maryland who used to collect garbage to support his studies, has recently graduated from college and is now heading to Harvard Law School despite all the hardships he experienced.
Rehan almost quit studying when several problems including financial issues, illness, and a major injury happened all at once. He used to live in a stable household until his mother left his father and moved out of the country when he was 8-years old. Since then, his father had been struggling to raise him and his brother alone.
Because of that, Rehan’s studies have been negatively affected as well. By the 7th grade, his teacher even recommended he be put in remedial classes. But his father refused and found an aerospace engineer who offered to tutor him for free.
Rehan’s studies improved since then, he even got on the Honor Roll. He also began training in martial arts and boxing. But his dream of becoming a professional boxer was cut short when he suffered a double shoulder injury in the 12th grade.
Rehan still tried to apply to college but was rejected from each of the schools. That’s when he decided to work as a garbage man.
His co-workers at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal, who were mostly formerly incarcerated, saw his potential and endorsed him to Brent Bates, the son of the company’s owner. Bates then helped him enter Bowie State University, where he became successful academically.
Rehan was thankful for the support he got from his co-workers.
“Throughout my entire life… all the people in my life who I was supposed to look up to were the ones who always downplayed me and made me feel bad about myself,” he told CNN. “I had to go to the ‘bottom’ of the social hierarchy — that’s to say formerly incarcerated sanitation workers — in order to be uplifted.”
After two years in Bowie State, he transferred to the University of Maryland, where he graduated in 2018. He then worked in political consulting with the Robert Bobb Group while studying for the LSAT.
Now, Rehan has been accepted in several prestigious law schools, including Harvard Law School, where he will soon begin online classes.
Even though a grant from Harvard will pay most of his tuition, he still needed help with his other educational and personal expenses. In line with that, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up by his mentor and it has so far raised over $60,000.