Rehan Staton started a nonprofit to guarantee that the support staff at Harvard Law School will not only be seen, but celebrated.
Published: 2023-05-26 08:47 pm
Former sanitation worker and Harvard Law grad honors school's support staff

Cambridge, Massachusetts — No one has ever attended Harvard Law School for its sparkling glass doors or smudge-free countertops. In fact, support staff here say most students never even notice their efforts — with one remarkable exception.

One day, a student started thanking all of them.

"He says, 'I just want to give you a hug and, you know, say hi to you," pantry steward Bonnie Larkin told CBS News.

"'Thank you for what you do,'" dining service worker Maria Andino recalled the student saying.

"I'm like, what is this kid's angle?" skeptical food service cashier Brione Merchant said. "But once I heard his background, that's just when it all made sense. I'm like, 'Oh, you see us because you're one of us.'"

That student, Rehan Staton, graduated from Harvard Law Thursday. Before coming to Harvard Law, he worked in sanitation. 

"My job was to refurbish the dumpsters," Staton told CBS News.

Staton worked for Bates Trucking and Trash Removal in Maryland. 

"I've heard people literally point to me and point to my coworker and say, 'Don't be like them,'" Staton recalled. "I think it just reminds me to stay humble and just remember I wasn't always standing here."

Staton has not only maintained his humility, he has multiplied it. Earlier this year, he started a nonprofit called the Reciprocity Effect. Its mission is to guarantee that from now on, the support staff at Harvard Law will not only be seen, but celebrated.

The first-ever Harvard Law support staff awards banquet was held in April. In Academy Awards-like fashion, it honored the custodians, cafeteria workers, and everyone else who make this place possible.

"The feeling of knowing that you are appreciated will always go a long way, especially for those who don't know that," Staton said.

In the coming days, a lot of graduates will stand high on a stage, a great vantage point, to finally see all those who lifted them there.

"I think that's what makes what Rehan did so special, is because you didn't even realize how unseen you were, until you were seen," Merchant said. "And then, all of a sudden, you're like, 'Oh, this is kinda nice!'"

Read Full Story

New York man demolishes wife's house with bulldozer - 2 years ago
A man bulldozed his wife's house without her knowing about it. Neighbors say the man rented an excavator and reduced the ranch house to a pile of rubble while his wife was away. It's not clear why he knocked it down.
Read More

The Best-Selling Sony PlayStation 5 Games Right Now - 2 years ago
It may not be the best-selling console in the United States, but Sony’s PlayStation 5 is likely the most sought-after. More than a year after the PS5’s launch, the console still remains in short supply. You can’t just walk into your local Walmart or Best
Read More

Mulvaney believes Hutchinson, other officials testifying about Trump - 10 months ago
On "The Takeout" podcast this week, Mulvaney discusses the Jan. 6 hearings with Major Garrett.
Read More

Holiday shoppers expected to spend more money this year - 2 years ago
Today marks the start of the holiday shopping season and the national retail federation predicts that shoppers will spend up to 3.7 percent more than they did last year. CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger joins us to discuss this prediction.
Read More