In 2020, the story of Rehan Staton, 18, went viral. Staton had been rejected from every college he applied to when he took a job as a sanitation worker. The sanitation team helped him to enroll into school at Bowie State University, after which his raised his grades to 4.0—landing him with a chance of Harvard Law School via classes at the University of Maryland.
In 2020, he said “It was the first time in my life a group of individuals that weren’t my father or my brother just came around me and… really just empowered me, uplifted me, told me I was intelligent.” During this time, his father had a stroke and Staton found himself waking at 4am for work to help pay medical bills and studying at night. Actor Tyler Perry offered to pay for Staton’s schooling after seeing a viral video of the young man reacting to his Harvard acceptance. Another $200,000 was raised via GoFundMe to help send Staton to the college.
After that, he began to give back, befriending all the school janitors and other staff who were surprised he wanted to speak to them. Staton started a non-profit called the Reciprocity Effect that works with support staff affiliated with educational institutions. The non-profit helps to crowdfund financial assistance for these hard-working folks in the case of personal tragedies.
He was able to give out several prizes at organized ceremonies to honor them with recognition and awards.
Now, after years of hard work and perseverance, Staton has graduated, with a job lined up in a New York law firm. Staton said “Although I get credit for working hard, working hard was the easy part. I just happened to be around people who cared enough about me. I worked for a trash company, where my co-workers told me that I should go to college instead. I had a boss who let me leave work, go to school, and come back. I had a cousin who helped me study for the LSAT. “I couldn’t have done it alone.”