24-Yr-Old Former Sanitation Worker Is Headed to Harvard Law

24-Year-Old Paid for College by Collecting Trash, Now He’s Headed to Harvard
(Twitter/RehanStaton)

Most of us, at one point or another, have been told that we can do anything we set our minds to. Now, this may be true in some cases – we can learn an instrument, become a better athlete, even get a decent job, assuming we’re willing to put in an insane amount of work. Even with all of the drive and effort in the world though, there are times that success just isn’t in the cards. Or, at times, success comes after many consecutive failures which makes it even more worthy of celebration. For 24-year old Rehan Staton, the sweetness of success could not have been any more thrilling because of just how many times it felt completely out of reach.

It all started when he was just 8 years old, far earlier than any of us should have to face the harsh realities of life. Rehan’s formerly normal household fell apart when his mom left and his dad moved out of the country. Suddenly, Rehan and his brother’s lives were turned upside-down. The brothers went from private school students to not knowing with any certainty where their next meal would come from. They went from a two-parent household to their father working up to three jobs at a time to try to keep a roof over the boys’ heads. In middle school, Rehan’s grades suffered severely due to stress at home and a teacher even offered to place the bright, but overwhelmed student in remedial classes.

This was not an option for Rehan’s dad, who knew his son was more than capable of keeping up with his peers. He got his son a tutor (an aerospace engineer who volunteered to tutor Rehan for free through the local community center), and for the rest of the year, Rehan was on the Honor Roll. His academic goals were secondary to his dreams of becoming a professional boxer, but in 12th grade, Rehan experienced yet another roadblock when he injured both shoulders. The frantic senior began applying to college since he was no longer able to pursue his boxing dream, but unfortunately, nothing panned out.

Rehan began working as a garbage man, but his peers quickly realized he had bigger dreams to realize. “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,” Rehan recalled to CNN.

Rehan’s coworkers recognized his intelligence and wanted to help him reach his full potential. Eventually, word of his bright and gifted nature made it to the son of the owner of the company where Rehan worked. The owner’s son, Brent Bates, took a liking to Rehan and brought him to meet a professor at Bowie State University. Much like everyone else who crosses Rehan’s path, the professor was extremely impressed by the young man and even appealed to the admissions board to help him gain entry to the university. The universe finally gave Rehan a bit of good news, and he was able to begin working towards his undergraduate degree. To nobody’s surprise, he maintained a 4.0 GPA. He achieved so much success that shortly into his undergraduate career, Rehan set his sights on law school.

“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,” Rehan reflected. “I had to go to the ‘bottom’ of the social hierarchy — that’s to say formerly incarcerated sanitation workers — in order to be uplifted.”

Rehan’s coworkers weren’t the only ones fully backing his academic pursuits, Rehan’s older brother Reggie even dropped out of school to help support his family and allow his gifted brother to focus more fully on his studies. Rehan transferred to the University of Maryland for his junior and senior year, and graduated in 2018. Invigorated by his success, Rehan began working in political consulting while studying for his LSAT and applying to law school. Finally, after all of the setbacks life threw at him, Rehan was accepted to not one, but multiple distinguished schools – he starts classes at Harvard Law School this upcoming fall.

Deaf People Graciously Demo Sign Language for Swear Words and Insults

(YouTube / Cut)

The middle finger is played out. It had a good run. That time you got cut off in traffic. That one picture of Johnny Cash and basically every picture of Eminem. It just doesn’t do the trick anymore. Do they even blur it on TV? Pathetic.

Thankfully, we have other options, as a group of deaf folks have made a really entertaining video where they generously lend us some potentially useful American Sign Language. It’s all there, baby.

For when your friend spills his beer:

Dumbass

"Dumbass" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

For when a guy produces a guitar at a party and plays Oasis.

Douchebag

"Douchebag" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

For when you’re a miserable situation.

Hell

"Hell" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

For when a guy produces a guitar at a party and plays an Oasis song that isn’t Wonderwall or Champagne Supernova.

Piece of Shit

"Piece of Shit" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

When there is shit.

Shit

"Shit" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

When your kid’s toothbrush is bone dry.

Bullshit

"Bullshit" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

And oh my goodness that game where you punch someone in the arm just took on a whole new meaning.

Asshole

"Asshole" in Sign Language
(YouTube / Cut)

You can watch these swear words and more demonstrated in all their profane glory in this hilarious video from Cut.

We hope you find these of good use. Please cuss responsibly.

Watch Students At LeBron James’ School Get Tuition-Free College

I Promise Students Get Free Tuition
(Twitter/LJFamFoundation)

LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And on a level unlike any player ever (sorry Michael) because he’s been able to use his platform to build his hometown community in a hugely positive way. The oldest students at Lebron James’ I Promise School recently found out they would be receiving four years of free college tuition (along with a free year of room and board).

The 193 11th-graders were informed of this development in a fairly dramatic fashion. They were on a college visit to Kent State University when they were told each student had an envelope under their seat. That envelope included the news of the free tuition at Kent State.

The announcement was a partnership between Kent State University and the Lebron James Family Foundation, which started the public I Promise School in 2018. The high school juniors will all receive four free years of tuition and one free year of room and board as long as they meet the university’s admission standards.

The university president was the one to announce the big reveal and told them why they were helping make college a reality for them.

“We are doing this because we know of the transformative power of a higher education and a college degree, but most of all we’re doing this because you guys have demonstrated over the past several years that you have the grit, that you have the determination, that you have the dreams to succeed,” he said.

The soaring costs of higher education have made getting a college degree a lot tougher for the at-risk youth enrolled in James’ school. This is why a move like this helps show the kids how committed you are to helping them succeed and removing the roadblocks in their path.

The kids’ parents were watching the video of the announcement live in a separate room, and burst into tears while their children cheered upon receiving the full scholarship.

“We have so many options, and I just know that so many kids in my community just don’t have many options,” James told reporters after a recent Lakers win. “So for me to be able to be in a position where I can give these kids options to decide what they want to do with their future, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”

To stay eligible for the scholarship, students will need to maintain good grades and complete community service hours every semester.

6-Year-Old Boy With Autism Becomes Youngest Student at Oxford, Ever

Joshua Beckford
(YouTube/TEDxVienna)

Autism is many different things, and the people who are on the spectrum are often as unique as the varying levels of autism itself.

Enter 13-year-old Joshua Beckford. At the age of two he had mastered reading and by three was speaking Japanese. While many professionals misdiagnosed certain forms of Autism early on as learning disabilities, cases like Joshua show it can be that exact opposite. So when Joshua’s father Knox heard that Oxford University offered a program for gifted children between 8-18, he signed up his then 6-year-old prodigy to see if he’d make the cut. He did, becoming the youngest student ever at the prestigious institution.

Joshua has what’s commonly referred to as high functioning autism (HFA). While HFA isn’t a medical term or official diagnosis, it’s a term used to describe those on the spectrum without an intellectual disability, but who may suffer difficulties in other areas such as social interaction and emotional expression.

In recent years it’s been uncovered that some of the greatest minds of history would have likely been autistic if the medical community in their time had known what we do today. Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, Mozart, and many more all presented signs and symptoms we now know to be found on the spectrum.

Although he’s already accomplished more than most of us could ever dream to achieve, Joshua now dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon and shows no signs of resting on his laurels. He also serves as the face of the National Autistic Society’s Black and Minority campaign, highlighting the challenges minorities face when attempting to find support and services relating to autism. In 2017, Joshua was named one of the 30 most remarkable people in the world with Autism. In January of this year, he was appointed an ambassador Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network, an organization that provides educational opportunities for children in Africa.

The brilliant Mr. Beckford is also penning a children’s book on Egypt, a locale the young scholar has been fascinated by for much of his life.

A genius, a role model, and an example for those young and old, Joshua Beckford is an inspiration and a reminder that each person is unique. Finding ways to highlight and bring out that individualism is often the key to fully discovering an individual’s best self and helping them to share it with the world.

Assistant Principal Lays on Ground to Help Boy With Autism

Mr. Smith and LJ
(Facebook/Steph Compton)

Being a teacher or school administrator takes a special set of skills. A passion for educating children is important. Patience is essential. But perhaps the most important traits one can possess are empathy and compassion. Those were both on full display recently when a photograph of an Ohio assistant principal went viral for all the right reasons.

Students at Garfield Elementary in Marion, Ohio were preparing to head home for the day, but an issue caused their bus to be delayed. It’s enough to make any youngster frustrated, but 8-year-old LJ was particularly perturbed. LJ is a third-grader who lives with Down syndrome and autism, but his mom Steph says he’s usually happy and outgoing, telling local affiliate WCMH “If he’s not smiling or laughing…which is most of the time, there’s something really wrong.” LJ was laying down on the sidewalk and was understandably exhausted from the long day.

So newly appointed administrator Mr. Smith, who had previously been a teacher in the district, saw an opportunity to get on his students’ level… literally. Smith dropped down to the concrete and laid down next to LJ while they waited. Another Garfield educator snapped a photo, sending it to LJ’s mom who later posted it to her Facebook page.

The post has since been shared hundreds of times, with several local parents commenting on how awesome of an impact such a small gesture can truly make.

LJ’s mom Steph sharing in an interview “It’s really awesome to know from a parent’s standpoint, that there are people that care that much about your child. To get down on the ground, and lay on the ground with them to make sure that they’re alright.”

Superintendent Uses Bonus to Pay Students’ College Application Fees

Superintendent Grant Rivera
(Marietta City Schools)

Applying to college is a huge pain in the butt, and I’m not even talking about the years of prepping for the SATs.

There’s choosing the schools you want to target, working with teachers and guidance counselors to figure out your odds, and then actually filling out the long, time-consuming documentation needed to actually put your hat in the ring for each school.

Did I mention the application fees? Every school requires a fee for each application, and this can limit the number of colleges and universities a student might put in for.

Thanks to the generosity of their superintendent, students in Georgia’s Marietta School district won’t have to worry about that.

Grant Rivera, the superintendent of the district, recently received a $10,000 bonus for satisfactory performance. Rivera, who has held the position since 2016, is eligible for a bonus every three years, and this was his first time capturing the award. But he’s not interested in keeping it for himself. Instead, he’s giving it back and using it to pay those pesky application fees that might otherwise deter students at Marietta High School from applying to college.

Those fees are usually somewhere in the $70 and 90$ range, according to Kelly Herrero, Marietta High’s IB Middle Years Program coordinator. That’s no small thing, especially if you’re applying to 3-5 schools, and she appreciates what Superintendent Rivera is doing.

“Any opportunity for these kids to have someone invest in them in this way goes to the theme to what Marietta, I think, is all about,” she told Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Rivera said that he expects about 150-200 of the schools 500 seniors to apply to college. He also pledged to use any leftover bonus money to pay for bus tours of Georgia colleges, to better help his students choose which schools they might want to attend.

“My hope is that it’s an incentive for kids to do the right thing,” Rivera said.

Either way, the generous educator is certainly setting the right example.