Some people believe that the only limitations that prevent one’s success are those that are self-imposed.
That you can achieve whatever you believe is possible with focus and dedication.
Those people usually go far in life. This is the kind of vision that got Rehan Staton, a former garbage collector, into Harvard, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.
The 24-year-old from Bowie, Maryland has always set his goals high.
But achieving those goals wasn’t always the easiest.
Staton’s mother left the family when he was just 8 leaving his father to raise him and his brother alone.GoFundMe Source: GoFundMe
Staton told CNN that he enjoyed a middle-class upbringing but his dad started having trouble paying the bills causing them to become food insecure, despite the fact that he would hold two to three jobs at a time.
“I wasn’t eating meals every day and my dad was working all the time,” Staton told CNN. “Sometimes there’d be no electricity at home.”
After being ostracized by other family members for their situation, Staton put his focus on athletics, martial arts training, and boxing.
Academics were a different story.
A teacher recommended that Staton be placed in remedial classed but Staton’s father refused.
Happy Birthday to the youngest Mr. Black & Gold for Bowie State, youngest President of Black Male Agenda, and winner of…
Staton’s father ended up meeting an aerospace engineer at a community center who offered to tutor Staton for free for the rest of the school year.
“I ended up getting on the Honor Roll the rest of that year,” Staton said. “The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note.”
Staton set his sights on becoming a professional boxer while also working on his academics.
But he suffered a shoulder injury as a senior which dashed his hopes of boxing professionally.
He decided he would go to college but was rejected by every school he applied to.
“That ended up just not working in my favor,” Staton said. “So, I ended up going to work as a garbage man. 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.”
Many of his co-workers, who were mostly formerly incarcerated, encouraged Staton to keep fighting to become a college graduate so they told the owner’s son of the trucking company about Staton.
Brent Bates, the owner’s son, decided to take Staton under his wing and bring him to meet a professor at Bowie State University.
He helped Staton get into college where he ended up earning a 4.0 GPA.
“I became the president of organizations. I was winning so many scholastic accolades — it was crazy.”
Now that he achieved this goal, Staton decided to set a higher one.
He says that being a sanitation worker is exactly what helped him to see his worth and shoot for the stars.
“Throughout my entire life … all the people in my life who I was supposed to look up to were the ones who always downplayed me and made me feel bad about myself,” he said. “I had to go to the ‘bottom’ of the social hierarchy — that’s to say formerly incarcerated sanitation workers — in order to be uplifted.”
He then spent a year working at a political consulting firm in Washington D.C. while studying for his LSAT.
“Thinking back at all the people that helped me, it’s just failure wasn’t an option,” Stanton told CBS News .
Stanton says that trying to make the best out of the worst situation is what helped him to succeed.
“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,” he said.
Staton will start school at Harvard in the fall. You can help contribute to his educational costs at his GoFundMe page here . Check out his reaction to getting accepted to Harvard in the video below.
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Source: NBC Washington