A Maryland man went from working as a sanitation worker to earning his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.
Rehan Staton, 27, told ABC News that his family “started to run into a lot of financial insecurities” when he was in second grade.
“There were holes in the ceilings. There was black mold festering in the basement. There were a lot of areas in the house that didn’t have floors,” Staton said. “It was a really bad situation.”
Staton graduated from high school, barely earning a 2.0 GPA. Teachers previously attempted to put him in special education classes and questioned his intelligence.
After graduating high school, Staton started working for Bates Trucking and Trash Removal in Maryland. Staton’s co-workers encouraged him to go back to school, prompting him to reapply for college.
Staton attended Bowie State University before transferring to the University of Maryland. He graduated in 2018, serving as the undergraduate commencement speaker.
Staton decided to continue pursuing higher education after his father, who battled a serious illness in 2019, was forced to go back to work. He passed the LSAT and was accepted into Harvard Law School.
Staton’s Harvard acceptance went viral, with Tyler Perry even offering to pay for his ivy league education. He graduated from the university last week.
“Although I get credit for working hard, working hard was the easy part,” Staton told The Harvard Gazette. “But I just happened to be around people who cared enough about me. I worked for a trash company, where my co-workers told me that I should go to college instead. I had a boss who let me leave work, go to school, and come back. I had a cousin who helped me study for the LSAT.”
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” he added.