Inspired by sanitation workers: Harvard Law’s newest student has come a long way

He said that with everything he did together with his family, it felt like they had all been…

He said that with everything he did together with his family, it felt like they had all been accepted into Harvard—it was a “we” situation.

Rehan Staton, a 24-year-old from Bowie, Maryland, has just been accepted into Harvard Law School. Such an acceptance is an exciting occurrence for any hopeful student, but for Rehan, it is made particularly special since it comes on the heels of a lot of adversity.

When Rehan was eight, his mother left the country in addition to the family, which consisted of his Rehan; his elder brother, Reggie; and their father. This led to their father having to keep a number of jobs on the go to support the household. On occasional tougher days, the house was dark and the fridge was empty.

The correlation between homelife and school performance meant that Rehan’s grades fell in middle school. His grades improved at points in later schoolyears with the help of a community center tutor, but his school performance didn’t stay consistent.

He focused on extracurricular activities—martial arts and boxing—but injuries to his rotator cuff plus a lack of health insurance meant that a career in boxing was no longer in the cards for him.

He sent in college applications, but every school denied him entry because his grades were too low.

But when he started working at Bates Trucking and Trash, things began to change.

His sanitation coworkers, many of whom had been incarcerated in the past, encouraged him to return to school. Brent Bates, an owner at the company, offered his help, and soon, Rehan was enrolled in Bowie State University. His older brother, Reggie, dropped out of Bowie State so Rehan could start his studies.

The support from his family and his colleagues created a world of difference: Rehan left Bowie State with a 4.0 GPA. After a transfer to the University of Maryland, he applied to law schools and was accepted at Harvard, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and Pepperdine.

Rehan credits his father for his drive to enhance his lot in life:

Watching my father work anywhere between one and three jobs, giving up his entire social life just to give my brother and I the basic needs — I was hungry, if that makes sense. I was really hungry, but also at the same time, I just really wanted to succeed.

Rehan Staton

Rehan even balanced a university workload with working at Bates Trucking and Trash—along with Reggie and with shifts starting as early as 4 in the morning—after a 2017 stroke meant that his father couldn’t work so much to support the household.

His story has inspired people to give and help him continue on his amazing journey of scholarship. The GoFundMe page “From Hauling Trash to Harvard Law” is nearing $200,000 in donations.

Hear Rehan talk about his experiences in Today’s video.

Article source: Today

Featured image source: Today

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