Rehan Staton is a young man who went from being a garbageman to graduating from a major university, and even being honored as his class’s commencement speaker. Rehan has described his journey as a “miracle,” saying that he owes everything to his former coworkers, many of whom are ex-felons.
Rehan was raised solely by his father in Bowie, Maryland after his mother walked out on his family when he was young. Education was not a priority in his family, and Rehan spent much of his time practicing martial arts in the hopes of one day becoming a professional fighter, boxer, or mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
“I worked a part-time job to pay off the household bills,” Rehan said. “In both areas, I felt successful – in martial arts I began to win national and international championships—and at work, I felt appreciated and productive. At school, I felt like I didn’t belong.”
When he was a senior in high school, a serious injury put an end to Rehan’s MMA dreams. Back then, both his GPA and SAT scores were below average, which discouraged him from enrolling in college and led him to work for a trash and recycling company.
“Most of my coworkers were ‘ex-felons,’ but they changed my entire life by the love and support they gave me,” Rehan said of his time working at Bates Trucking Trash & Recycling. “They encouraged me every day to pursue college. Even the owner of the company and his son encouraged me.”
The company owner soon put Rehan in touch with a professor at Bowie State University (BSU) who would go on to become his mentor. Rehan soon enrolled at the school, where he immediately excelled and made the Dean’s List. He continued to work for the trash company as he went to the school, receiving many academic awards for his achievements.
Two years later, Rehan transferred to University of Maryland (UMD), where he continued to score academic honors while working 40-hour work weeks. Rehan maintained his Dean’s List standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.81 before he finally graduated!
Since graduating, Rehan has been working as a legal clerk to gain experience before entering law school. He has also been giving inspirational speeches about his journey at schools in his area.
“I just feel lucky,” Rehan said. “Without the support of everyone around me, none of this would be possible. I will pay it forward.”
Rehan’s story goes to show that you can achieve anything you want to in life if you put your mind to it!