Rehan Staton of Bowie, Maryland, hasn’t had an easy life, but he does have an incredible support system.
The 24-year-old is smart, hard-working, and capable of achieving whatever he wants. But he hasn’t always seen these qualities in himself. Fortunately, he is surrounded by people who believe in him. That’s why today, he’s celebrating an accomplishment he never thought possible.
Rehan’s home life took a turn for the worse when his mother left the family. His father did his best to raise their two sons alone, but they fell on hard times. Despite working three jobs at once, he had trouble paying the bills and putting food on the table.
“I wasn’t eating meals every day and my dad was working all the time,” he told CNN. “Sometimes there’d be no electricity at home.”
With so much to worry about, Rehan couldn’t focus in school. His grades dropped. But when a teacher tried to place him in special education, his father found him a tutor — who happened to be an aerospace engineer!
“I ended up getting on the Honor Roll the rest of that year,” Rehan said. “The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note.”
Rehan also found an outlet in boxing. He loved it so much that he set his sights on becoming a professional after graduation. Unfortunately, that dreamed ended with a double shoulder injury in his last year of high school.
At 18, Rehan fell into despair. He applied to multiple colleges — all of which turned him down. So he got a job as a sanitation worker at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal. There, his co-workers used every opportunity to encourage Rehan. They saw his academic potential. And when Rehan got the chance to enroll at Bowie State, his older brother, Reggie, made an incredibly selfless choice. A sophomore at the same school, he dropped out to support his family. The brothers worked together until 2018, when Rehan graduated.
Reggie was also by Rehan’s side the day he got the best news of his life — he’d been accepted into Harvard Law! What’s more, he got into multiple other law schools, including Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and Pepperdine.
While Rehan can’t deny he put in the hard work, he credits his family for helping him along the way, especially Reggie.
“You put yourself in a profession where people would look down on you so that people could look up to me,” he wrote in a Facebook post to Reggie. “You tell me, how can I not laugh when people say that I’m ‘self-made?’ Straight up, I wouldn’t have made it here without you.”
Congratulations, Rehan! With so many wonderful people in your corner, you’re unstoppable! Here’s hoping Reggie gets a second chance at school soon.
You can help Rehan with tuition, school supplies, and housing by donating here.
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