In 2020, GNN honored Rehan Staton, an 18-year-old who put in years of hard work as a garbage collector to pave his way into Harvard Law School. He accomplished this by taking classes at the University of Maryland. Now, after facing different challenges and putting in more effort, Staton has successfully graduated and secured a job at a law firm in New York.
Staton’s journey was filled with intense dedication and perseverance, involving both physical and emotional struggles. Prior to his graduation, he faced setbacks and even physical injuries while excelling in martial arts, particularly boxing. Despite winning several competitions, his dreams of pursuing this sport were shattered when he permanently injured his rotator cuff. Additionally, he faced academic difficulties and received rejections from all the colleges he applied to due to poor grades. However, his decision to work as a sanitation worker wasn’t rock bottom as one might expect. Surprisingly, this job turned out to be a turning point for him.
The sanitation team he worked with played a significant role in his life. They provided him with a sense of community and support that he had never experienced before. They recognized his intelligence, uplifted him, and encouraged him to pursue education. With their assistance, he successfully enrolled at Bowie State University, and his grades improved dramatically, reaching an impressive 4.0. Eventually, he earned a spot at Maryland State University. Despite facing additional challenges, such as his father’s stroke and the need to juggle work and studies, Staton persevered. His inspiring story gained viral attention on social media, catching the interest of Tyler Perry, a renowned celebrity, who generously paid for his tuition at Harvard. Throughout his journey, Staton made a point to connect with and befriend the school janitors and staff, surprising them with his genuine interest in their stories and experiences.
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