Nightly News   |  January 26, 2012

Whirlwind weeks for formerly homeless student

Samantha Garvey’s journey from being homeless to the national spotlight. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>>> finally tonight, a young woman we told you about a few weeks ago here. an extraordinary high school student , a semi final nis a prestigious national science competition. an amazing accomplishment for anybody, even more amazing when you learn she was living with her family in a homeless shelter . tonight, as we learn from nbc's rehema ellis, there is more to to samantha garvey's story.

>> reporter: for samantha garvey, the last two weeks have been an extraordinary whirlwind.

>> i never could have imagined that this would have happened.

>> reporter: after being named a semi final nis a top science competition, this 18-year-old senior who was also homeless, attracted the nation's attention.

>> this is completely amazing. thank you, everyone.

>> reporter: officials from new york suffolk county stepped in and offered samantha , her parents and twin siblings a three-bedroom home through an affordable housing program for families in shelters. last week, an appearance on the " ellen degeneres " show.

>> they are going to give you a $50,000 scholarship.

>> that was like someone pulling out your dream and giving it to you. this is your dream. have it.

>> reporter: tuesday, samantha was invited by her congressman.

>> mr. speaker, the president of the united states .

>> reporter: to attend the state of the union address in washington.

>> he actually signed it for you?

>> yes.

>> reporter: then appeared on the "today" show.

>> this is the lab where you spend a lot of time. samantha didn't make it to the final round of the science competition. as she waits to hear from colleges, she is convinced now more than ever education will change her life.

>> i had all these amazing opportunities. just the fact he was able to apply to this competition, had other people ablg my research and see what i've done is winning in itself.

>> reporter: one talented young woman 's story of turmoil turning into triumph. rehema ellis, nbc news, new