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Posted in Inspiring Others
January 20, 2019

Sanitation Worker Honored as Role Model and Student Commencement Speaker, All Thanks to Coworkers’ Love

He went from working on a garbage truck to graduating from a major university, honored as their student commencement speaker—and he says he owes it all to the love and support shown to him by his coworkers, many of whom were “ex-felons”, but they changed his life.

Because of his upbringing, Rehan Staton says this was nothing short of a miracle.

Due to traumatic events within his family, education was not a priority. His mother abandoned the family at a young age, so he was raised in Bowie, Maryland solely by his loving father.

Although Staton wanted to succeed in school, food and housing insecurities plagued the family and he started to lose focus. He spent a lot of his time practicing martial arts and working different jobs with the hopes of one day becoming a professional fighter, boxer, or mixed martial arts fighter.

He told Good News Network: “I worked a part-time job to pay off the household bills. 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.”

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After sustaining a major injury during his senior year of high school, Staton realized he would not be able to do MMA or boxing professionally. Since he placed heavy emphasis on martial arts rather than schoolwork, his GPA and SAT were below average. It was Staton’s SAT score of 1100 (out of 2400) which discouraged him from entering 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,” Staton says of Bates Trucking Trash & Recycling. “They encouraged me every day to pursue college. Even the owner of the company and his son encouraged me.”

They eventually connected Staton with a professor at Bowie State University (BSU) who ended up becoming his mentor. Shortly after, he was admitted to the school.

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Staton’s grades consistently placed him on the Dean’s List, and he became actively involved in campus activities and organizations. He received numerous academic and leadership awards and became president of an organization geared toward mentoring other students. He even participated in numerous community outreach activities—all while working for the trash company.

After two years, he transferred to the University of Maryland (UMD) where he continued to received high academic honors, even while now working 40 hours per week in order to support his father who suddenly suffered stroke.

He lost weight, as food money was tight, but UMD gave him the help he needed—and Staton maintained his Dean’s List standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.81.

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Since graduating last month, Staton will be spending the next year or two working as a paralegal in order to gain extra experience before entering law school. He is also speaking at multiple schools to inspire others to reach their dreams.

“I just feel lucky. I  Without the support of everyone around me, none of this would be possible. I will pay it forward.”

Be Sure And Share This Incredible Story Of Success With Your Friends On Social MediaPhoto by Gail Marie Rupert

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