Opinion: From rags to riches

POSTED: 01/23/12 6:25 PM

What are the chances to make something of your life if you are homeless in the United States? They’re slim, because education is notoriously expensive, so you’re probably headed for the drugs scene, prostitution or an early grave.
But things will work out differently for Samantha Garvey, a New York teenager who lives since the beginning of this year with her parents in a center for homeless people.
Samantha became a star overnight when she made it to the semifinals of Intel Science Contest, a prestigious national science Olympiad. She is in there with 299 others, but her biology teacher at the Brentwood High School was quick to point out that her student had entered the Superbowl for scientists.
The 16-year-old, who wants to become a marine biologist, spent the past three years researching the development of the scales of muscles in different biotopes.
When the national press in the United States picked up the story about a hard studying poor girl with practically no perspective because she lives on the street, it became a real tear jerker.
Samantha was invited to a TV talk show where she received to her utter astonishment a check for $50,000 from telecom giant AT&T. The money is to be spent on a university of her choice. The student is shooting for a place at Yale or Brown University.
And what did Samantha have to say about all this? It’s nice to get recognition for your research and it is very special that I am now able to make my parents proud. I am not able to offer them a house but at least I am doing well at school.
That statement classifies as a wow-experience. And the story is not over yet. If Samantha goes on to win the Intel Science Contest, show will pocket another $100,000. She does not have to worry about a house either, because the city of New York immediately offered the family one.

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