Currently on view at The Hotchkiss School is Soaring Souls – Honor our Heroes, a charitable photography exhibition by Quisha Lee ’24 and the Hotchkiss Special Olympics Club. Installed on the walls of the Upper Rotunda in The Hotchkiss School’s Main Building, this exhibit showcases Quisha’s photographs documenting Special Olympics athletes in Connecticut, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Last Saturday we had the opportunity to see Quisha’s photography exhibit as well as ask a few questions to learn more about her and the Special Olympics.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I am Quisha Lee, a 17-year-old girl from Hong Kong. I currently study at The Hotchkiss School as an Upper-Mid (junior). I’ve been studying in the US for five years now, beginning from 7th Grade at Indian Mountain School. Ever since I was young, my parents have emphasized the importance of goodheartedness and generosity over the harsh standards of grades and accomplishments. My family, and the environment I was raised in, nurtured me into a loving sister, an appreciative daughter, and a thankful person overall. I enjoy swimming, art, reading, traveling, and solving puzzles in my free time.

How and why did you first become interested in supporting Special Olympics and Paralympics?
I learned about Special Olympics in 7th Grade, when Indian Mountain School sent swimmers to the annual Hotchkiss Swimathon to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT). My passion to support Special Olympics began then, when I swam alongside intellectually disabled swimmers who supported and cheered for me as I continued to swim laps. I learned about Paralympic athletes back when I was still studying in Hong Kong, since my ex-fencing coach (Yu Chui Yee) was a Paralympian herself. Despite her physical disabilities, she displayed such inspiring strength that pushed me to train harder every time I saw her. It was in these moments, where I was in proximity with disabled athletes, that I realized disabilities should never be viewed as barriers or weaknesses but rather as a means to practice tenacity and gratitude that we all should learn from.

When did you first become interested in photography?
My grandmother instilled in me an appreciation for photography many years ago. Since then, I have gradually honed my photo-taking hobby into a passionate and creative form of self-expression and advocacy with the help of my Hotchkiss photography instructors.

How did the idea for your “photolanthropy” project come about?
After discussing with directors and presidents of Special Olympics and Paralympics organizations on how to raise awareness for their athletes, I reached a conclusion that greatly involves the importance of photography – I must first provide people with the opportunity to acknowledge, and simply, see these special athletes who are as equally present as any other individual in society through a platform that showcases their reality and spirit. I believe my images may act as portals into this special world and my photography exhibition as a mode to personally present these extraordinary athletes.

What are you hoping the general public takes away from the “photolanthropy” project?
I want the public to first simply see these images. We often are stuck in our own individual bubbles, neglecting aspects that do not necessarily associate with ourselves. However, the passivity in overlooking less fortunate communities often actively perpetuates a disparity of social and economic resources, and even more so, a stigma around communities that do not align with our definition of normal. Thus, I hope that viewers really take their time to admire these images, so that they may see the positive, supportive, and personal sides of Special Olympics and Paralympic athletes for themselves. Ultimately, I hope that these images will inspire the general public to support these athletes and their organizations through raising funds and awareness and consequently create a sustainable, united community regardless of disabilities.

Has there been anyone in particular who has really supported you and encouraged you along the way?
Definitely my family; they have supported my initiative every step of the way. My parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and sister have all provided me with enthusiastic encouragement and nurtured me to follow my passions with their guidance. Leaders from Special Olympics Connecticut, Special Olympics Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Paralympic Committee have also greatly encouraged me to pursue this project and offered advice on what to best promote and how to do so. My Hotchkiss faculty, especially my photography instructors have helped me in every way possible, and I am so grateful for them. Lastly, I wouldn’t have created this charity exhibit without these inspiring athletes. They so warmly welcomed me when I attended their training sessions and motivated me to reach my goals of this project.

How can people find out more about Special Olympics and Paralympics and what kinds of things can they do to get involved?

Here are links to the organizations involved in this project.
Special Olympics:
Special Olympics Connecticut:
Special Olympics Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Paralympic Committee:

Feel free to check out my website with more information on my personal journey in supporting these organizations:

Connecting with their social media accounts is a great way to be updated with their athletic, social, and healthcare events. All organizations host fundraisers and local events, so attending those is a great way to get involved. There are also donation links on their websites to directly support their causes. If these specific organizations are not nearby, consider looking at the Special Olympics website for your local state’s contact and headquarters. There are many other organizations that support athletes with disabilities so keep on researching! The most important aspect to uphold is an open mind and heart; let’s all work towards a more inclusive and fair society, and let us begin with recognizing the uniting power of sports and health!

Donations to Special Olympics Connecticut gratefully accepted. Donate here