Ryan Hatten

Hometown: Florissant, MO

high school: McCluer North High School

college: University of Chicago

MAJOR: Law, Letters, and Society

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Law School (JD Candidate)

Living a life of almost constant adversity, Ryan Hatten has certainly learned the importance of dedication and commitment. Born to a high school girl and a young man entrenched in the gang culture of North St. Louis, Ryan seemed like the makings of yet another inner city statistic. But with the help of a supportive family, Ryan used these circumstances as motivation, excelling in many activities, most notably academics. Though his achievements to date are impressive, including being named a National Achievement Scholarship Finalist and a Missouri Scholars Academy Participant, Ryan looks to the future, hoping to change the social constructs that make it difficult for inner city youth to succeed. He also looks to the past, finding in his humble beginnings inspiration for his current achievements and future successes.

When Ryan was five years old, one of his first memories was of a time of hardship for him and his single mother. There was no food in the home save a can of beans, a hamburger patty, and ketchup. His mother, using some ingenuity and an abundance of love, created chili from these less-than-enviable ingredients. The result was the best chili that Ryan to this day has ever. He draws on this experience, discovering that he should strive for excellence even if his conditions are undesirable. As his mother faced problems with drugs, his grandmother would become his rock, his bit of peace in a world of tumult. She emphasized those same principles of excellence against adversity, pushing Ryan to excel in a new, more challenging suburban environment. Ryan would meet these challenges, learning from his family to reach beyond perceived bounds.

When Ryan began his secondary education at McCluer North High, he yearned to become involved in activities that would exercise his many interests. He joined Mock Trial and Math Club, where his adoration for law and mathematics could flourish. He would diversify these activities by wrestling his junior and senior years. With but two years experience, Ryan became a state medallist, the highest honor of pre-collegiate wrestling. This reaffirmed Ryan’s belief that dedication is the catalyst for triumph. That said, Ryan committed the largest part of his time to service. The memories of his own struggles in school and at home sparked humanitarian zeal. His involvement with United, Future Iota Leaders and Minority Scholars Organization showcase his interest in assisting the unfortunate.

As Ryan enters this next chapter in his life, he values the past for molding him into a goal-oriented person and arming him with a strong moral compass. Without past struggles, he might not have been able to cherish the opportunities at hand in the same way. Using these opportunities, Ryan plans on attending law school, where he will learn the skills needed to fight for change. After meeting and conversing with Ryan at his local church, former Senator Jim Talent told Ryan, “I’ll see you on Capital Hill someday.” With luck, he was right.

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