When word got out that one of the finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search was homeless, her Long Island community stepped up. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Garvey and her family (plus dog!) were moved into an affordable three-bedroom home in Suffolk County, New York. She got an internship. She was invited to attend the State of the Union address.
Yesterday, her educational future became more secure.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres gave her a $50,000 scholarship to whatever college she chooses to attend. DeGeneres gave Garvey a mock $50,000 check yesterday on her show, where Garvey spoke a little more about her circumstances, her family, and how she manages to stay so focused on schoolwork and science.
You can watch the segment here.
I think it’s great that people are finding ways to ensure Garvey’s future, that she won’t be sidetracked from college by money issues, or that her family’s homeless status might take her out of school or keep her from going to school or on to college. Unfortunately, Garvey’s circumstances are not unusual (well, the Intel semifinalist part, that’s definitely unusual!). There are hundreds of homeless kids, many of whom drop out of school so that they can go to work and help get the family an apartment — really the worst thing they can do. It’s awful when any child slips through the cracks; it’s breathtaking to think Samantha Garvey easily could have.