24-year-old Rehan Staton is determined to beat the odds.
Born and raised in Bowie, Maryland, Staton’s childhood was much like many other kids his age. He attended private school and grew up in a middle class family.
However, when Staton was eight-years-old, his mother left he, his brother; Reggie, and their father to return home to Sri Lanka.
The household that was once stable and well-to-do transformed into one of uncertainty and financial strain.
Staton’s father began working three jobs to care for his two sons. But even so, the family struggled to make ends meet. Because of the amount of work that his father took on, he was rarely home and he and his brother were often left to fend for themselves.
“I wasn’t eating meals every day and my dad was working all the time. Sometimes there’d be no electricity at home,” he shared with CNN.
To make matters worse, the family outside of his brother and father left them to deal with things on their own.
Of course, the family situation at home affected Staton’s performance at school. Although he found solace in sports, specifically boxing and marital arts, a teacher recommended that he be put in a special educations class.
Staton’s father didn’t agree and was able to find a tutor for his son at the local community center. Fortunately, an aerospace engineer offered to tutor Staton free of charge.
“I ended up getting on the Honor Roll the rest of that year. The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note.”
As his grades remained consistent, he dedicated himself to boxing and began training to become a professional boxer. However, he suffered a double shoulder injury and digestive problems.
No longer able to continue boxing, he applied to colleges and was denied by all of them.
This forced him to find work as a garbage man at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal. There, he found support that didn’t come from being an athlete.
“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 said.
His colleagues believed in him so much, they spoke to Brent Bates, whose father owned the trash company.
Ironically, all of his coworkers had been incarcerated at some time in their lives (besides senior management) and were the only ones who saw his potential.
Bates introduced Staton to a professor at Bowie State University, where he was once rejected. The professor was impressed with him and helped him appeal his rejection.
In two years, he graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
At the time, his brother was enrolled at Bowie as well. However, he dropped out so that he could work at the trash company to help support his father and younger brother.
“My brother took a job that people look down on, just so people could look up to me,” he said.
After graduation, Staton transferred to the University of Maryland. Unfortunately, his father suffered a stroke and he began to work at the trash company again to help pay for the medical bills, all while in school.
There were days when he was unable to shower after work and sat at the back of the lecture hall to avoid stares and judgement from classmates.
Staton’s determination once again proved vital as he graduated from Maryland in 2018 and was chosen to be the student commencement speaker.
After graduation, he began to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. He took a job at a national consulting firm as an analyst, took the LSAT, and applied for law school.
He got into Harvard, Columbia University, Pepperdine Law, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California.
Today, he is paying it forward by offering free LSAT tutoring for students. In addition, he has GoFundMe set up in his name to help pay for Harvard and his father’s medical expenses.
Staton is the embodiment that the sky is the limit.
You can watch a heartwarming video that his family put together of him finding out what law schools he was accepted into below!
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