"I woke up my dad, I'm like, 'Daddy wake up! I'm an Intel semifinalist!' He was like, 'What's that?'" said Samantha Garvey, an Intel semifinalist.
Senior Samantha Garvey has been named a semi finalist in the nation's most prestigious science contest.
"I was like, 'It's Intel! A competition I applied for!' He said, 'Oh that's great,' I said, 'its awesome!'" Garvey said.
Top marks, for an aspiring marine biologist who studied salt marshes off Long Island.
But it's so much more meaningful for the hardship she faces every day.
Samantha and her family lost their home to the economy after a car accident left her parents Leo and Olga unable to work or pay the rent.
"Nothing has stopped her. Not even the bad situation, the economic situation we're going through, not going to stop her," said Olga Garvey, Samantha's mother.
According to the National Center for Family Homelessness, the number of children on the street has skyrocketed to 38% during the recession, to a record 1.6 million homeless kids nationwide.
By state, New York ranks 15th worst with 142,084.
535 of them, are right here in the economically depressed Brentwood School District.
That's more than any other on Long Island.
"It was really difficult to comprehend that here we are in this society and we have so much yet this amazing family doesn't even have a roof over their head," said Rebecca Grella, Brentwood High School.
"There are other people out there people my age going through the same exact thing," Samantha Garvey said, "Hopefully it just makes them see that there's going to be better. And that if I can do it then so can they. They can do just as much if not more than I can do."
Samantha will find out in two weeks if she's been named one of six finalists.
Her next stop is college.
She's waiting to hear from Brown and Yale.
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