Kids & Family

From Hauling Trash To Harvard: How One Man Reached His Goals Despite A Lifetime Of Adversity

Wait until you see the moment he finds out he was accepted to this prestigious university – the video will make your day!


Rehon Staton never had it easy.

The 24-year-old grew up in Bowie, MD and was abandoned by his mother when he was eight years old. After she left, Staton's father struggled to support the family and often worked two to three jobs at a time.

Staton recalls sleeping in his jacket when the heat was turned off because they didn't have enough money to pay the bills. There was rarely ever food in the refrigerator and the family spent much of their lives without access to health care.

By the time he got to high school, Staton's grades had fallen dramatically and one of his teachers suggested he take remedial classes. After that, his father found him a tutor at the local community center who was an aerospace engineer.

Staton wanted to be a professional boxer, but after a serious injury, he was forced to change his plans. Rehan Staton/Facebook

"I ended up getting on the Honor Roll the rest of that year," Rehan told CNN. "The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note."

Staton's academic performance continued to improve and he also started training to be a professional boxer. When he suffered a double shoulder injury during his senior year, his dreams of going pro after graduation slipped away. He quickly applied to colleges as a fallback plan, but was rejected from all of them due to his low SAT scores.

After graduation, Staton got a job as a sanitation worker, where he had to get up at 4:00 am every day to haul trash and clean dumpsters. His co-workers, who were mostly ex-convicts, always supported him and pushed him to reach his full potential.

Staton and his older brother Reggie (pictured on right) both worked as sanitation workers to support themselves during college. Rehan Staton/Facebook

Brent Bates, the owner of the sanitation trucking company, even took Staton to meet a professor at Bowie College to encourage him to stick to his goals.

"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," Staton said.

The professor was so impressed with Rehan that he appealed his rejection and got him accepted. Soon after that, Staton was an undergrad at Bowie and had a 4.0 GPA.

"I became the president of organizations. I was winning so many scholastic accolades -- it was crazy," he said.

Here's the moment Staton learns he was accepted to Harvard Law School.....pure joy!

During his second year of college, Staton decided that he wanted to go to law school. He went on to apply and was accepted to Harvard, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and Pepperdine.

Now, his goal is to help other young people who are facing adversity to reach their true potential and has plans to work as an LSAT tutor and college counselor.

Rehan works with his colleague Joseph Britto (pictured on left) at Bowie State University. Rehan Staton/Facebook

"When I look back at my experiences, I like to think that I made the best of the worst situation. Each tragedy I faced forced me out of my comfort zone, but I was fortunate enough to have a support system to help me thrive in those predicaments," Staton said.

We love stories of people overcoming adversity to reach their dreams. We're sure that Staton will never forget the encouragement he received from his family and co-workers at the sanitation company. Great job, all around!

Staton said he would have never achieved his goals without the support of his older brother Reggie (pictured on right). Rehan Staton/Facebook

How can you start something good?

Inspired by Staton's incredible story of dedication and perseverance?


You can show the young scholar your support by contributing to his GoFundMe page. All of the money raised will go to helping him with expenses such as tuition, housing and a meal plan when he moves to Cambridge to continue his studies.


Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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