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Maryland Man's Perseverance Pays Off. He Will Attend Harvard Law School


Now we want to tell you about a remarkable young man named Rehan Staton. He's someone who knows a lot about getting knocked down and then getting right back up again.

REHAN STATON: It's just, like, whenever I'm about to get over the gate, something sidelines me that was completely either unavoidable or unforeseeable.


When he was 8, Rehan's mother abandoned the family, leaving his father to raise two boys alone. The family faced years of financial hardship even though his father worked multiple jobs. In school, his grades slipped. And when he set his sights on becoming a professional athlete, well, injury ultimately ended that dream.

MARTIN: After graduation, Rehan attended Bowie State University before transferring to the University of Maryland.

STATON: My dad ended up working three jobs, when I transferred to the University of Maryland, to help that transition. And once he had suffered his stroke, I just said, OK, well, now it's my turn to step up to the plate.

MARTIN: So he went to work for the Bates Trucking and Trash Removal sanitation company, a job that meant waking up before the sunrise.

STATON: I went and decided to work full time at the sanitation company while being a full-time student. And I maintained all my leadership positions and all of that. However, again, like I just said, it's my time to step in. My dad's down, and this is what I wanted to do - continue to sacrifice.

GREEN: Rehan worked that job while also staying committed to his degree. He says his colleagues at the trash removal company gave him the inspiration he needed to keep going.

STATON: It was the people who were at the bottom of the social hierarchy, such as people who were formerly incarcerated and those who were, you know, working sanitation because all throughout school, people always - you know, your teachers always tell you, don't be one of those guys. But it was specifically those types of individuals in the back of the truck who really took my life to another level.

MARTIN: Rehan, who is now 24 years old, graduated from undergrad in 2018 and has now been accepted to Harvard Law School. And while he doesn't yet know exactly where this new road is going to take him, Rehan says he does know he wants to keep supporting his family.

STATON: I just wanted to make sure no one I ever loved could not get the help they needed just because we lacked the necessary resources or just money to get them the help.

GREEN: Rehan Staton, who will begin his studies online at Harvard Law School this fall.

(SOUNDBITE OF U137'S "MIDSUMMER FIELD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.