Meet Rehan Staton, a 24-year-old student who worked as a trash collector was recently admitted to Harvard Law School – one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. What makes this story incredible is the fact that despite facing difficulties in life, Rehan never lets anything stop him from achieving his goal.
Rehan received the good news in July this year since then, he has become an icon on social media. It’s an accomplishment he never imagined was possible.
Staton had struggled to find security since he was 8 years old, when his mother abandoned the family, leaving behind his brother, his dad, and himself.
“My mom abandoned my dad, my brother and I when she moved back to Sri Lanka,” Staton told the newspaper. “I was probably too young to notice some of the things that happened, but I know it was bad.”
His family was constantly struggling to make ends meet, and things got worse when his dad lost his job. He had to take on three jobs to pay for the bills, raise two sons, and ensure their future success.
“Things just kept falling on us,” Staton said. “My dad lost his job at one point and had to start working three jobs in order to provide for us. It got to the point where I barely got to see my father, and a lot of my childhood was very lonely.”
“There were often times without food on the table and no electricity in the house,” Staton said. “That was common throughout my childhood.”
Despite this, Staton excelled in high school and ended up finishing the year with an Honor Roll. He continued improving his academic stance, and even training to become a professional boxer.
“I ended up getting on the honor roll the rest of that year,” Staton said. “The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note.”
Sadly, his dreams were diverted in the 12th grade when he he suffered rotator cuff injuries and did not have health insurance. The injuries forced him to put down his gloves for good.
“I couldn’t go to the doctor, because we didn’t have health insurance,” Staton said. “I was crushed.”
With poor grades and low SAT scores as a senior resulted in him being rejected from every college he applied to. Rehan decided to work as garbage collector in the hope of helping his dad and brother make ends meet.
When he took a job collecting trash and cleaning dumpsters with Bates Trucking and Trash, his new colleagues started urging him to go to school or do something that could allow him to live out his full potential.
“It was the first time in my life people were lifting me up for the sake of lifting me up and not because I was good at sports,” he told CNN.
The son of the company’s owner, Brent Bates, introduced Staton to a professor he knew at Bowie State University. The professor was so impressed with the young sanitation worker, so he helped Staton appeal to the school’s board of admissions and he was soon admitted.
“I got a 4.0 GPA, I had a supportive community and I became the president of organizations,” said Staton. Staton’s brother, Reggie, was also enrolled at Bowie State at the time but decided to drop out and work at the same trash company to support his brother.
After two years, Staton transferred to the University of Maryland and set his sights on going to law school. But during his studies, his father suffered a stroke, so he rejoined Bates Trucking & Trash Removal to pay the medical bills and continue his schooling. Starting at 4 a.m., he would be hauling trash into a truck before class.
After graduating in 2018, Staton took an analyst job at the Robert Bobb Group, a consulting firm in Washington D.C. He took the LSATs while working full time.
He was eventually accepted by the law schools at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Pepperdine and the University of Southern California.
Ultimately, Staton chose Harvard Law School, and he will start online classes this fall. He’ll specialize in sports law and hopes to become an agent.
“No one can promise that life will be fair — but if you keep your eyes on the prize, everything will fall into place,” said Staton.
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