Hard Working Homeless Teenager overcomes subpar Long Island education.

Samantha Garvey, a 17 year old senior in Long Island, became a semi-finalist in what is apparently the “highly prestigious Intel Science Competition”.  I’ve never heard of it before, and I’m sure a lot of us simpletons and ignorant libertarian buffoons haven’t, but apparently it’s a big deal in the science community.

The most important part of this story is that she is homeless, or to be more matter-of-fact, lives in a homeless shelter with her family.  That’s right, a homeless shelter. This story which broke on Friday feels like it is something out of Touched By An Angel. This tearjerker, and rightfully so, is a high-point and something to be fondly remembered, just like the Packers unexpected and welcome loss in the playoffs.

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

Let’s however give credit where credit is due, and I’m sure almost none of that credit really belongs to the school system in Long Island. Most schools across the country aren’t lucky/blessed/fortunate enough to  have the “Freedom Writers” experience happen.  In that movie, the kids actually decided to try to further their education, which as we know, is more often than not the case anymore. Why?

 Broken families across the country that haven’t managed to instill into their children the concept of just how important a good education is to their futures, and I’m not just talking about nearby Waukegan. Instead our parents are desperately trying to work with their promising youth of tomorrow who can barely read and spend their time cussing 12 year olds on Xbox live, developing early drug habits and slacker tendencies, and becoming media addicts who think tweeting about Glee is the most important part of their life as well as everyone elses.  I guess substituting An Inconvenient Truth for actual grammar lessons in English class just isn’t cutting it.

 This all being said, one very important point needs to be acknowledged; it is the students who ultimately determine their own success. Consider the rather lackluster amount of competent students being pumped out by their assembly lines a.k.a schools who aren’t ready or able to compete for a job against the 50 year old’s now working minimum wage positions, and count your blessings. Hard work with even just a bare amount of skill and talent may be enough to outshine the “socially conscious and aware” students that have been fed a steady dose of, “We’re all winners.”  I suppose losing horrendously at Modern Warfare 3 to their fellow trashtalking ADD ridden pupils should easily dissuade them from that nonsense. Kid’s can be cruel after all,  and the trash-talking in Modern Warfare 3 isn’t a far cry away from becoming a digital version of Lord Of the Flies.

Surprisingly, this story clearly demonstrates that hard work, being studiousperseverance, and devotion to one’s education, are useful and plausible tools to pull one up by their bootstraps. How improbable! Her 3.9 GPA proves her diligence which has now given her the opportunity to possibly win a prize of over 100,000$  Stories like this are what America used to be about, but more and more are becoming an unfortunate rarity in a society dominated by phrases like, “You have too much money!”, “Mine!”,  and “I deserve this, it’s my right!.”  Sowing the seeds of nasty notion of entitlement in our youngsters is bound to have ugly consequences, but proper education is apparently just that.

We don’t see enough Samantha Garveys these days. Why? Because the very notion of hard work has become a bad joke. In all fairness, a society which consistently rewards the lazy and punishes the hardworking, takes away most of the incentive to even bother to try, yet we wonder why entrepreneurship seems to be a thing of the past.

While this story is heartwarming, we shouldn’t forget the reality of the events that have produced this kind of situation; It seems twisted financial priorities are a common occurrence nowadays and “accountability” is a very dirty word. I know we’d all love to see many more Samantha Garveys, but I wonder just how realistic that hope may be. Consider the politicized minefield that public education and education reform has unfortunately become. Until we address the fact that our money seems to end up going into the pockets of teacher’s union bureaucrats and politicians, instead of to the schools, students, and teachers themselves, stories like this won’t continue to occur. What will continue is stories about bad teachers receiving six digit figure salaries, even after being convicted of sexual mischief with their students.

Millions upon millions of misspent foreign aid dollars may perhaps buy the goodwill of other countries who already hate us due to our imperialistic tendencies, while our homeless starve and the nations’s poorest schools become havens for drug trafficking, gangs, and corruption.  On the domino effect of thought that my reflection of this article has taken me on, one thing still remains clear; we must break the bureaucratic nature of the teacher’s union and remind them that their duty is to teach rather then to lobby.

While this inconvenient truth may wear down our desire to make something of ourselves, just remember, success is still there for the taking. All you have to do is give it your all and dress like you want the job, instead of talking in ghetto speak with your pants hanging down to your knees.

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