Cheltenham Girls High School Captain
17 years of age
Future lawyer or scientist
Queena stunned us all with both her candour and understanding of racism within Australia. She believes inclusivity and education is the way of the future.
- Queena is an impressive youth leader, she’s passionate, articulate and is the daughter of Chinese immigrants
- Like her parents, she has experienced extreme racism, including being coughed on in the street
- She’s particularly concerned about today’s youth cashing in their values for money once they enter life after school
A big issue in today's youth is actually school in general and students' motivation to study and better themselves, school has made education such a burden in a way. I really want students to be able to find joy in learning. If we could allow students to find the passion for learning and to find enjoyment in it rather than for exam marks, then I feel like school experience would be a lot better for a lot of students.
I really do fear as they go into the workforce, that they would lose their seeking for adventure and their ability to think critically and creatively, because we're going into a world so corrupt and so run by money and the exploitation of the vulnerable.
And I really fear that as the graduates go the workforce, they kind of mould into the shape that society wants them to be just to make a living. We need to shift off our focus from profit and money. If we could do that, a lot of our world issues could be solved.
If we look at people with more compassion and value individuality, valuing people for who they are rather than a dollar sign that’s put above their head. Because right now a big problem is oil, gun violence and a lot of it stems from money and profit and the big corporate organizations that control the media and so on.
There's a lot of subtle racism going on. I could be in the elevator and talking to my mom in Chinese and some guy would say, "Speak in English. You know we live in Australia. Speak in English".
Somebody actually coughed in my face. On the street. Quite deliberately, I think.
It's quite sad. We all live in the same country. We all pay our taxes.
I was angry after that. I was also disappointed. And I was worried, because what if he had COVID? I was raised here. I was born here. Yet, I'm treated differently. I felt a little pity for him because he's missing out on so much by being ignorant about my culture and all of that. I really hope that guy grew as a person since then or became more educated.
I think we grow our own intellect by valuing inclusivity. A lot of times when these situations occur, we tend to respond to hate with hate. A lot of the times I either ignore it or I respond with hate and I really regret that. I think that's what they want to see.
It's made me stronger, I guess, more resilient. And it's actually done the opposite. It's actually made me feel proud about my own background.
A characteristic leaders need is empathy. We all have like a preconceived notion that all leaders have to be loud and spontaneous and decision makers. But I think what the world needs today is more compassion, more empathy.
Request an appointment
Let's discuss your photography experience