Homeless Long Island Teenager Is Intel Competition Semifinalist

BAY SHORE, NY (CBSNewYork / AP) – Samantha Garvey has good reason to be the recipient of high fives and congratulations from the faculty and students in the hallways at Brentwood High School.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

The 17-year-old senior says she cannot believe that she is one of the semifinalists in the highly prestigious Intel Science Competition, in part because she lives in a Bay Shore homeless shelter with her parents, brother, and twin sisters.

“I am currently homeless. Like I’ve said, this motivates me to do better. I do well and I pursue my passion because it’s what I have and it’s a way out, you know, and it’ll lead to better things,” Garvey told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.

Samantha Garvey and her father at Brentwood High School - Brentwood, NY - Jan 12, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

Samantha Garvey and her father at Brentwood High School - Brentwood, NY - Jan 12, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

She said she was blown away and started crying when she learned about her place in the competition.

“I’ve gotten a lot of calls. People on Facebook, they’re posting things on my wall and it’s really exciting,” she said.

Garvey is one of 61 Long Island students who have a chance at the competition’s top prize of $100,000.

“I did a marsh study where I looked at mussels in a marsh and I saw that when they were exposed to crabs, they grew heavier shells,” she said.

After that, she introduced the situation to a lab setting.

Her guidance counselor Karin Feil said Garvey takes advantage of anything offered to her.

She also studies Italian and plays the violin. Plus, she has 3.9 grade point average.

Samantha said she dreams of becoming a marine biologist after attending Brown or Yale.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • ben

    She’ll get accepted to all the prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc…They LOVE to have students with a story such as hers. She’s a shoe-in for the Ivy Leagues.

    • Michael Cosgrove

      she’ll get in, and with her proven ability, she’ll graduate well. but she won’t get the brass ring because she doesn’t have the silver spoon. ability gets you to the party but unlike Cinderella, bloodline gets you to the palace. but she’ll STILL make enough money to buy her proud parents a great house. go for it, kid!

      • Liz

        She can always marry the silver spoon.

    • Hal McCombs

      I guess you,ll hate her if she makes a lot of money.

      • Dave Mowers

        People who use the suffering of 308 million Americans to steal 29 trillion dollars to cover bets they made but didn’t have the money for, THAT’S who I hate Hal. Rich people deserve nothing they steal their money from poor people. The system is rigged and everyone knows it jackoff.

        • joshua gonzalez

          Right on!

  • James

    An inspiring story. Keep up the hard work, Samantha!! Your journey is only just beginning!!

  • Ron


  • Dan

    Its always sad to see anyone who has become homeless. Also, its great that she was a semi-finalist in this competition. Let’s not shower her with too much praise or label her a genius just yet. She was ONE of SIXTY-ONE semifinalists from Long Island….this probably puts her among thousands of students nationwide who are “semifinalists”. Additionally, who has ever heard of this competition and how many applicants are there? Good for her? Yes. Genius? Absolutely not.

    • no

      You are probably incredibly wrong. The average person is an idiot. An IQ score of 140 puts you in Genius territory. I would be very surprised if this girl didn’t have at least a 140 IQ.

    • Eric P Turner

      dan did your mom have any kids that lived

      • Aaron Self

        Eric P Turner. Obviously he did since he’s talking. Try to insult someone without making yourself look like a dumbass.

    • Jim Jones

      I’m sure it’s 1,000 times better than you could do. Go hang yourself.

  • Vladimer

    What a shame that this girls intelligence is going to ruin the ideal family situation our current administration has worked so hard to keep her in. Her family’s dependence on the government was a badge of honor until this damn science thing got in the way. God forbid she win and show that hard work can elevate her status in this country. The only way to redeem herself if she wins is to immediately denounce achievement and give the prize money away to the other’s in the shelter. Shame on her!

    • Robin Miller

      You should never stop your meds unless you check with your doctor first, and you should taper off gradually. Otherwise, you might suffer a sudden, major loss of intelligence and a huge increase in gullibility.

      • tony

        vlads right-she is not a good rep for Obama’s equal-outcome ideas for our country.Doesnt matter how smart she is, or how hard she works, in the “O”niverse, she has to share her success with OccupyWallStreet.

        • joshua gonzalez

          Occupywallstreet didn’t take her house. Occupywallstreet didn’t crash the market. The banks did BOTH!

  • Rich in Boston

    Ron Paul will put this kid’s dad back to work. Ron Paul has a real plan for fixing our economy!

  • Peter Louis

    Domain was registered today? I call shenanigans!

  • NJ Unemployed

    This kid supports Ron Paul? She truly is smart then – hopefully enough of the South Carolina voters will feel the same way. Ron Paul is the only person running for president who will actually make our economy stronger and keep people working.

  • nam-vet6869

    This young lady is a great example for us all. The worse things get, the harder you work and you will succeed in the end. Too many people use her situation as a excuse not to succeed where she uses it as motivation to succeed. Congratulations and good luck.

  • Casperini

    Her support of the lunatic Paul shows her inexperience in life. I wish her well, and hope she doesn’t remain politically naive for too much longer. At least she’s intelligent enough not to support the ridiculous Democrat party.

    • Soil

      Really, Casperini, how has voting a straight GOP ticket despite all their candidates being collectivist shills helped this Union? People like you, who do not even recognize the lunacy of the false left-right paradigm, are the truly naive. Grow up and learn how to think for yourself.

      • Dave

        False left-right paradigm???

        I think for myself and I know that our country is going broke. The only party talking about less spending is the GOP… get your cynism meter re-calibrated… the Dimorats are taking us to the land of European socialism and in case you’ve been living under a rock… .they ain’t doing so well these days.

        We still have a choice and come this November we need dump Oblunder and his corrupt, crony capitalism regime

        they have finally run out of “other peoples” money.

  • John Collins

    Go for it Samantha Great stuff!

  • Ben

    Samantha, great job. You can be anything you want to be. I’m rooting for you. Hope you win, but if you do not still go on and do great things. Its an honor to be where you are now.

  • Robert Jones

    She’s on facebook. Wonder if she checks it from her mobile phone. I’m proud of the girl but let’s face it Americans from just a few generations back would love to live in a New York homeless shelter today. The way things are going economically I may be moving in with her. Hey Samantha I’ll bring my 42″ LCD TV we’ll Wii !!!

    • boredofequalization

      !. Facebook is free. She may check it from a public library.
      2. There were less homeless a few generations ago, not more.
      3. Nobody uses Wii anymore.

      • john smith

        Yea facebook is free but is a bluetooth ear piece free? Whats wrong with that picture, whats in that dads ear? Im sure they have there own tv, cell phones, and computer at their “homeless” shelter. I know a lady at my work with 5 kids single mom and always really broke, sometimes cant pay her rent. But she has cell service with 5 lines everything included paying over 280.00 a month. Give up your cable and other things and you wont be so poor. Hey I’m doing the same thing, dropping cell phone for house phone.

  • Minky Moose

    she’s hot too

  • Jack Fitzgerald

    Maybe there is a positive connection between her home living environment and her academic progress. No TV?

  • Brodave

    God Bless you girl. My prayers are with you and your family.

    • no

      Yeah, god and prayers are really going to solve her problem way more than money and a roof.

      • DEEBEE

        yes no?

  • James Woods

    Good for her but she better be well prepared for the country she lives in. In the United States being a skin color or a religion will give you a free ride over top of her.

    In the real world she may stay homeless because only the corrupt in this country are seen as heros and raised to the top.

    I wish her all the best. If we lived in a country based off merit she’d be in good shape but instead we live in one based on race.

    • Eric P Turner

      race no money money money that is all that people seem to care about anymore people would sell out their own kids in this country for money

      • LA Doc

        So do you two bitter losers always go around blaming others for your own shortcomings, failures, and insecurites? Or are you just trying to assuage your fragile, childish egos? Eric and James, you should look in the mirror to see the reason why you’re utterly pathetic.

  • Sharon Riordan

    Isn’t this the way most people who succeeded started out? Maybe she has a strong genetic link to our forefathers. Sad to read the negative comments, you go little one. :)

  • Janet

    It just goes to show that even though a young person is homeless, she isn’t using it as an excuse for not succeeding. She’s using it as a reason TO succeed.

    She looks at her cup being half full, not half empty. More young people should have her outlook.

  • pinouye

    What a very nice story…we need more of these.

  • Niles

    Does she support Ron Paul?


  • NowYouKnow

    Hey, what’s with the Bluetooth in pop’s right ear? Poor is a relative thing in this country.

    • no

      He’s a cab driver, you idiot. Every cab driver has a bluetooth headset, so they can communicate with dispatch and with customers for pick-ups. Just because they’re homeless doesn’t mean they’re not working (in this case, the father works, but the mother has been injured for most of a year due to a bad car accident).

    • Soil

      They lost their jobs after injury. Maybe he had it prior to then. Maybe it doesn’t even work. Maybe he uses it with his now disconnected cell to listen to music. Maybe he has a cheap cell plan because it costs less and is more convenient than a land line. Maybe, just maybe, it’s really not significant to the issue at hand in this article.

    • gmcc

      the government gives free cell phones and probably Bluetooths to poor people.

  • jimmr

    Congratulations and best wishes for continued success! Hopefully the USA will continue to be the shining city on the hill offering opportunity to those who are willing to work hard and persevere. God Bless!

  • Ratt

    Go Miss Garvey Go ! You can do it Girl !

  • richard

    theld man hasa bluetooth jammed in hhis ear and thatoverserved the night before look.

    • no

      Yeah, because when you’re homeless and living in a homeless shelter, you always have that “fresh and ready to meet the day” feeling and appearance about you.


    • Soil

      What’s that have to do with other people rewarding the kid for her accomplishments?

  • Sean

    A “homeless shelter” is considered a home. A sidewalk is considered a home. Homeless doesn’t mean not having a home. It means people plenty of opportunity and we should help if they want it.

    • Clarity-jane Seer

      Sean are you for real! That is the most stupidess coment ever!

    • USArmyCombatMedic

      “Definition of HOMELESS: having no home or permanent place of residence”
      ~Merriam-Webster Dictionary

      “Homeless doesn’t mean not having a home”

      Hmm… Who should we believe?

      • Eric P Turner

        not the retarded sheeple sean thats for sure must be a 1%er

  • Joie G

    agreed! What a horrible thing to say! this girl is excelling and not asking for handouts! Take your malcontent soemwhere where it is deserved, like the occupy camp!

  • KC

    I wish her the best… She is the type that will succeed at whatever she chooses to do. God Bless.

  • Judy Sullivan

    One of the few I would be happy to see assistance go to. Unlike the many who will permanently be on the dole, she has the drive to rise.

  • I_Like_Apples

    Look at that smile! You’ve earn it Ms. Garvey.

  • Crash Froelich

    A homeless scholar from a homeless family. Wonder why there’s no mention of how the family got in that condition? Losers don’t encourage their children to excel them, excel period. Victims of the Obama economy? The lack of such details speaks volumes by it’s absence.

  • Bob

    I emailed Texas A&M School of Marine Biology at Galveston and urged them to contact her to apply for admission and scholarships with this story. We would welcome her and her family to the Gulf coast.

    • Marvin

      Bob, you are good folks.

  • Robx

    I say give the Solyndra “Bonuses” to this girl! Someday she will create more jobs then all of those “smart” people ever did! I cant tell you how much better I feel about the future after seeing this story! I hope there are more of her! I hate to imagine all the ones we will never hear about, lost forever.

    • TDizzle

      I agree!!

  • Mike M.

    If she played a sport, she would get a full scholarship to any school she chooses, even if she had a 0.1 GPA. Then she would have it made for the rest of her natural life. Instead, she is actually smart, and has to struggle through life, while the rest of us worship some brain dead moron who can pick up a football or basketball – This is a prime example of what’s wrong with today’s society.

    I honestly wish this girl the best of luck in her future endavours.

    • Michael Hansen

      Well there is a certain base fairness to life – nothing against the young lady but the relationship of crabs to mussel shell thickness only impacts me once every few weeks when I treat myself to a nice plate of Frita di Mare – and no one else except me and the chef cares. On the other hand if you can pass a ball half as well as Rodgers or Brady you too will be “worshipped” by the millions looking for entertainment so they don’t have to go through life worrying about the interplay between crabs and mussels…

      • tony

        I gotta ask-what the heck is Frita di Mare? Anything like Cinco De Mayo?

    • Chris

      The NCAA has standards regarding grades and participation in athletics. So does high school athletic departments. If someone had a 0.1 GPA they wouldn’t even be participating in athletics much less getting a scholarship.

      Ignorance is really what’s wrong with today’s society.

      • bart

        My son graduated with an obnoxious star football player who was not only a 1.0 student but also was arrested for stealing alcohol from a local state store. Any other kid would have been expelled for a year but he was simply transferred to another school where he never missed a beat on the field. He was then accepted to West Point even though he was ranked one of the lowest academics in his graduating class. He plays footbal therel. I’d like to know what schools have these high standards ’cause it sure doesn’t exist in our system.

        • Michael Hansen

          It’s called “affirmative action” – how do you think Barry ever got into Harvard Law????

          • Rick

            Samantha you are an inspiration to every person in the world.

            I want affirmative action for short white people and hispanics in the NBA. Descrimination has gone on for way to long in the NBA.

      • USArmyCombatMedic

        Agreed. Not to mention simply going to a university doesn’t guarantee anything, much less “hav[ing] it made for the rest of her natural life”.

      • Mike M.

        I was exaggerating about the 0.1 GPA. But my main point still stands – we worship the athlete more than we worship the person with a mind that could potentially cure cancer.

        Athletes get superstar status while smart people with REAL potential go unnoticed.

    • all amerikan girl

      What you’re leaving out is what the actual course of study is. How hard is to ace basket weaving? Most of the curricula these days are bogus, just designed to get the taxpayers’ money, get the b!tches knocked up, the dudes fleeing into the military and inflate the administrators’ salaries. Get rid of the Dept of Edumucation.

  • Chas Holman

    Kudos kids..

    Take what life throws at you.. and build stuff with it.

  • Moni

    I am happy this ALL AMERICAN GIRL who is focused got what she deserves.
    I wish her and her family the best – She is the type of child who will make this world a better place…. Thank you for You!

  • Shannon Alday

    Someone please post an address where mail/assistance can be sent to help Samantha.

    • USArmyCombatMedic

      Google: homeless shelters near Brentwood HS New York, and you will find like 3 within a 5mile radius of the school. My guess is it would be one of those. The phone numbers are listed. Call and inquire first. They may not be able to directly answer your questions (privacy law), so be willing to leave your contact info so the family can get a hold of you.

  • Dori B

    ***Where to send a check? Need an address so that those who can help a little can send them a check******

  • Marta

    This girl’s story should be shown in EVERY school to every student. She is an inspiration that even someone in her situation can pull themselves up and JUST DO IT!!!! Talk about triumph over adversity!

  • one of her teachers

    I can tell you all this: She is the real deal, a truly lovely student with a dynamic and graceful presence and I am so proud to have had her in my classes and in our school. Ms. Garvey makes Brentwood very proud. There are many of our students who overcome great odds and you don’t hear about it. She is as terrific as she seems.

    • Jim in Houston

      You should be proud of her and her accomplishments. She could have done like so many others and blamed everyone else for her family being homeless and then try to milk the system. She is a role model for all poor and/or homeless kids. Great job Ms Garvey.

  • Bullett

    Here’s to you Samantha, and follow your dreams.

  • Bartholomew Harte

    When the going gets tough,the Tough get going! I wish all good things for You!

  • julie

    God bless you

  • Linda Quick

    Samantha Garvey is an investment Warren Buffet would do well to consider.

  • A "Going Postal" Worker

    Wow – some people really overcome amazing odds.

    With all of the bad news out there, this story was truly heart-warming!

    • Tom Smith

      I was watching ABC last night on how women were screening sperm donors based partly on IQ. Just not that simple. What a fine woman this is in this story

    • Moe1138

      I think someone embraced the whole “personal responsibility” thing and ran with it. When all the other children say it’s too hard or I can’t do this, just point to this young lady.
      Oh, and the “Regime” will take credit for this, watch.

    • RDK

      Congratulations Samantha! This American Spirit is what we need more of. Keep pushing, good things are coming your way.

    • Christopher Jackson

      The dumbing down of America folks. the ones who control this nation have quite successfully destroyed this nation by destroying the family and the economy

  • CSI

    Thats great. Keep up the good work.

  • marc

    I want to add another thing: I hope that someone well-off sees this and helps her and her family out.

    • Eric P Turner

      they will so they get 15 min of fame not because they really wanted to help i wouldn’t be surprised if one of the criminal candidates use a photo op with her to make them selves look good

    • Nick

      Always up to SOMEONE ELSE huh? Why don’t YOU do something for a change?

      • Michael H.

        perhaps marc is not well off enough to help others to any meaningful extent?

        • Nick

          Any help will do. I’m not “well off”. And I donate to build schools. All you twits do is whine whine whine. Never Do Do Do.

          • Casper

            Nick, you should preface your statement with your contributions. That would make your statement more powerful.

          • Michael H.

            How, exactly, was marc “whining”? The only whining I see is coming from you.

            • Nick

              Typical mark/Michael H. Divert the attention. You want to help, than help. Always whining for others to do it. DO for once. It’ll actually WORK. Two words unknown to you folks.

              • Mikey

                The fact that Nick is completely right is the reason why you throw out an ad hominem attack that has no bearing on the conversation.

  • marc

    Finally, a good story. Best of luck to her. And her scientific study has true relevance to our knowledge of evolution. Hope she wins and lives her dream. (And I would be remiss not to mention that she is damn cute!).

  • John

    Congrats Samantha! Don’t EVER stop.

  • FeelingMinnesota

    Better than those Occupy Wall Street tools! *Snorts* Good for you Samantha!

    • AJZ

      This has everything to do with OWS you ignorant a$$. While this woman, who is homeless, and ACTUALLY underpriveleged, is going to rise out of her situation and live the American dream, people like you and OWS leeches, coming from priveleged backgrounds, whine about having to work. You pig.

      • Dave

        AJZ what are you talking about??? make sense much??

        calm down and reduce your dosage

      • hawker1

        In a few years Samantha will be one of the 1% that the OWS leeches are protesting against.

      • MaggieLyn


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