Homeless Long Island high school student Samantha Garvey attracted nationwide attention when she reached the semi-finals of the Intel Science contest. This Wednesday she learned that she did not make the list of 40 finalists.
This extraordinary 17-year-old has, however, been given a new home, a $50,000 scholarship, and was invited to be a guest for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Of course this inspirational teen still feels like a winner.
Once Samantha and her family’s situation was made public on 12th January, the community of Suffolk County rallied around the family and the media flocked towards Samantha’s amazing story.
Within a few days, the Suffolk County authorities offered the Garvey family a home to rent. They had been evicted from their home on New Year’s Day this year. This was the second time in Samantha’s life that she had lived in a homeless shelter and now she’s made it possible for her family to have a home.
Samantha had TV interviews with ABC, CNN, and various other networks. She also made an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres” show where she shared her story. While on the show, she was presented with a $50,000 college scholarship.
Now Samantha has had the opportunity to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address. Speaking to NBC’s “Today Show” she admitted that from being in the presence of so many “historical figures” in Washington, her head’s been turned.
She said, “I want to do what they do." Garvey said her trip to Washington made her want to combine her studies with science and policy.
The 17-year-old said she sees her passion and talent for scientific research as her “ticket out” of a challenging situation.
She continued, “Throughout all the things I've faced, I've been able to go to school and get my education, and then pursue my research and do my studies…That's been my way out. That's enabled me to keep focused and keep me from going off track."
Here’s Al Jazeera’s report on Samantha’s story:
Here’s the Newsday video on Samantha Garvey from 12th January: