After hauling trash and cleaning dumpsters, Rehan Staton is set to graduate from Harvard

Abu Mubarik April 21, 2023
Rehan Staton. Photo credit: Rehan Staton (Twitter handle)

At the tender age of eight, Rehan Staton was abandoned by his mother and single-handedly raised by his father, who worked three jobs to take care of him and his brother, Reggie.

“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,” Rehan 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, Rehan and his brother worked for Bates Trucking & Trash Removal in Bladensburg, Md., where he hauled trash and cleaned dumpsters.

Staton recalled how they often went without food and how he received no support at school with his teachers showing little faith in his academic capabilities

He 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; he did and got enrolled into Bowie State University with his brother, Reggie, 27, who later dropped out to support Rehan.

Rehan later transferred to the University of Maryland after two years at Bowie State to complete his undergraduate degree, graduating in December 2018. 

In 2020, he got accepted into Harvard Law School and credited his brother for every sacrifice he made to ensure he got a quality education. Three years down the lane, Rehan is preparing to graduate in May this year. After graduation, he will take the bar exams and start work at a New York City law firm.

He recently co-founded the non-profit called, The Reciprocity Effect, with a focus on giving back to support staffers in Harvard and other schools. According to him, the initiative became “they were not getting the recognition they deserved for helping the school to run smoothly.”

According to Essence, he has purchased 100 Amazon gift cards to give out to the school’s support staff, using his savings from his summer associate job at a law firm.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 21, 2023


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