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BRENTWOOD, N.Y. – A homeless Long Island teen, who is in the running for a $100,000 national science prize, has been invited to Washington, D.C., to watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
Samantha Garvey, an aspiring marine biologist currently living in a homeless shelter, will sit in the Capitol gallery for the Jan. 24 speech as a guest of her representative, Democrat Steve Israel.
"The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance," Israel, who is head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Newsday.
"She is the epitome of the American dream. She worked hard and she is a story that I want to share with my colleagues and even with the president of the United States."
The Brentwood High School student, who just turned 18 on Monday, "can't wait" for the big day, her father told Newsday. "She deserves it. She needs to meet people like that," Leo Garvey, a taxi driver, told the paper.
The teen's inspiring story made headlines this month after she was named one of the 300 semifinalists in Intel's prestigious national science competition for her research project on mussels.
Both of her parents were seriously injured in a car accident, which put them temporarily out of work, and the Garveys became homeless on New Year's Day when they fell behind on their rent.
As part of the outpouring of support in response to the girl's story, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that the teen and her family will be able to secure a three-bedroom, rent-subsidized home in Bay Shore.
They are due to move in later this month, along with their array of pets including a pit bull named Pulga. Garvey had feared the dog would be put down after her family was forced to bring it to a shelter when they were evicted.