Rehan Staton had a relatively normal life until a series of disruptive challenges impacted his family life and studies.
“Things were pretty good until I was 8 years old. That’s when everything went south. My mom abandoned my dad, my brother and I when she moved back to Sri Lanka. I was probably too young to notice some of the things that happened, but I know it was bad. Things just kept falling on us. My dad lost his job at one point and had to start working three jobs in order to provide for us. It got to the point where I barely got to see my father, and a lot of my childhood was very lonely,” Staton said.
During high school, the uphill battle persisted for Staton with unsupportive teachers, a deteriorating home life and his dreams of becoming a professional athlete being taken away after suffering numerous rotator-cuff injuries and developing a digestive illness. After being rejected to every single college he applied for, he decided to begin working at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal in Bladensburg, MD to help support himself and his family.
The PG County native said he woke every morning to get dressed around 4am, spending his days transporting trash and cleaning dumpsters. He credits his work family with encouraging him to go back to school. “The other sanitation workers were the only people in my life who uplifted me and told me I could be somebody,” Staton said.
Brent Bates, whose father owns the company, helped Staton get in touch with a professor at Bowie State University, who helped him appeal his rejection from the school. The HBCU eventually accepted Staton and after receiving a 4.0 and becoming president of a number of organizations, things began to look up. He would work in the morning and take classes in the afternoon, struggling to make things work but finding solace in a newfound purpose. His older brother, Reggie Staton decided to drop out of school at Bowie State, taking a job at Bates Trash Removal to help Rehan out.
“My brother took a job that people look down on just so people could look up to me,” Rehan Staton said. But his brother said the decision was easy for him.
“My brother is everything to me. I would give up everything to see him succeed. He’s my hero,” Reggie Staton said.
Eventually Staton transferred to the University of Maryland to continue pursuing his undergraduate degree, but his struggles weren’t over yet. His father suffered a stroke, causing Staton to have to start working at the company again to help make ends meet. He eventually graduated, taking a job at the Robert Bobb Group, a national consulting firm. After taking the LSAT and applying to law school, he got his acceptance letter to Harvard this past March.
Patrick Bobb, Chief Operating Officer at the Robert Bobb Group, spoke about Staton, saying, “For Rehan, the sky is truly the limit. He is unbreakable. Whatever Rehan chooses to do in his legal career and beyond, he will definitely achieve.”
Reggie Staton echoed those sentiments saying, “I felt at that moment, my brother made every sacrifice worth it. He did what he said he was going to do, and that was to get into a top law school.”
Staton was also accepted to Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Pepperdine Law, and the University of Southern California. He plans to start at Harvard in the fall, majoring in sports law, to pursue his dreams of becoming a sports agent.
“We all took losses and made sacrifices to take care of each other. No one can promise that life will be fair, but if you keep your eyes on the prize, everything will fall into place,” Staton said.