The story of Rehan Staton is both tear-jerking and inspiring. For years, he towed trash and cleaned dumpsters to make ends meet and also to fund his education.
Staton was eight when his mother abandoned him and his brother, Reggie. His father raised them as a single parent working three jobs. “I was probably too young to notice some of the things that happened, but I know it was bad,” the 24-year-old who grew up in Bowie, Md., told The Washington Post.
“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.”
To support the family and their education, Staton and his brother worked for Bates Trucking & Trash Removal in Bladensburg, Md., where after spending his mornings hauling trash and cleaning dumpsters, he would head to class at the University of Maryland.
“When you’re out in the street and you see a dumpster that looks really bad, I’m the guy who’s going to make it look very good,” he was quoted as saying.
Staton recalled that often times they went without food and that he received no support at school with his teachers showing little faith in his academic capabilities. “One of them even called me handicapped,” Staton told The Post. But his dream of becoming a professional boxer was what kept him going.
Staton began working at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal following his college rejections in 12th grade. Downhearted and disappointed, his colleagues at Bates encouraged him to keep applying and he did and got enrolled into Bowie State University with his brother, Reggie, 27, who would drop out along the way so he could push Staton.
“My brother took a job that people look down on, just so people could look up to me,” Staton said. “My brother is everything to me. I would give up everything to see him succeed… He’s my hero.”
Staton would transfer to the University of Maryland after two years at Bowie State to complete his undergraduate degree education, graduating in December 2018.
Staton has now been accepted into Harvard Law School and for Reggie, his brother “made every sacrifice worth it. He did what he said he was going to do, and that was to get into a top law school.”
Staton was also accepted to the law schools at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California and Pepperdine Law, The Post reported. He was wait-listed at Georgetown University, New York University, Berkeley, and UCLA.
“The only reason that I made it to where I’m at is because people helped me out of the kindness of their heart,” Staton said.