‘I was really kind of out there in primary school. I was a really happy child – always dancing. And then I got to high school and everything was different. I didn’t fit in well there. My teachers didn’t like me and just overcoming that was a huge challenge. After I left, I had to relearn how to be happy and get my confidence again. I’m now studying design at Enmore TAFE which has really helped me with that. My first year there was the best year of my life just learning what I want to learn.
‘I wouldn’t change any of it though because that’s when I went in to myself and really looked at who I was and figured it out. It’s how I got good at art because I was in my room painting all the time and drawing in class.
‘In my last year of high school, my teachers put me in the lowest class – like ESL kind of reading level. They told me it was because of my last name. They said that they assumed I wasn’t from here so they put me in ESL. They told me that they thought I was a refugee but I was born here. I don’t speak any other language. The teacher was just smiling when he said it to me. I started crying. For a whole year I was in this low level thing. Before that I’d been put in classes that were meant to be for year 12 because that’s the level I’m at but when I moved to this new school they didn’t believe me. They didn’t test me or anything.
‘But I’ve come through it all and proved them wrong. That’s what you’ve got to do, you‘ve got to prove them wrong.’