January 24, 2012

The State of the Union

How one teen scored an invite to the big speech.

Scott: Samantha Garvey couldn’t believe it when her work in marine biology made her a semi-finalist in a prestigious science competition.

Samantha Garvey: I just started crying, and I go to my dad. And I’m like, ‘daddy I’m an Intel semi-finalist.’ And he was like, ‘is that good?’ And I said, ‘yes it’s amazing!’”

Scott: What is more amazing is that since New Year’s day, her family has been living in a homeless shelter after falling on hard times last year.

Samantha: Both my parents, they’ve always said, ‘you know, there’s worse out there. There are people who have it 10 million times worse. If you feel bad, you have to pick your head up and keep on going.’

Scott: And Samantha has kept going. She has a 3.9 GPA and is president of the National Honor Society.

Samantha researched mollusks and found that a certain type develop thicker shells because of a predator in the area. Her science teachers says that kind of describes Samantha too. Her challenges have only made her stronger and more determined to put in the hard work to succeed.

Samantha: During crunch time, sometimes 18-20 hour days.

Scott: That hard work not only got her to the semi-finals of the Intel competition where she will get to compete among 300 semi-finalists for a $100,000 prize, but her hard work also got her an invite to one of the most exclusive seats in town. After hearing her story, her congressman invited her to sit in the House of Representative tonight to hear the president’s State of the Union address. And that is not all. After hearing her story, county leaders found a way to give her something no one should be without; a home.

Samantha: This is just the most amazing thing you could ask for! We’re all in tears here. We could barely compose ourselves enough to speak.

Scott: But her little sister says it is her huge heart that makes her such a role model.

“If she see’s someone out on the street, she’ll offer them money, she’ll give food to people. If she sees animals, she’ll say, ‘can I go save it?’”

Scott: Samantha says her struggles motivate her to work even harder.

Samantha: I don’t want a family — my family in the future — to be on the street. I want for them to look at me and say my mom is a scientist, and she has this beautiful house for us. So, that’s why I work so hard. I want things to be better.

Scott: A dream she is well on her way of achieving.


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