We’re given a playful warning before talking with Justice Green: “Hold onto your bootstraps cause she's gonna be a heck of an interview.” Justice lives up to the hype. She’s by no means intimidating, but we could see where someone as plain-spoken as her might rattle some adults. I mean, what else would you expect from someone who’s out to change the world?
to Pass Through
“I'd give the shirt off my back to anybody if I needed to. I'm that type of person…” Justice confidently announces, “If I have it, I’m gonna give it to you. If I don’t, I'm just gonna make a way for you to get it.”
She has an outlook that would put most cynical adults to shame. Justice’s answers to our questions about school and extracurricular life drip with wisdom well-suited to the role of a guidance counselor or personal therapist. She’s accessible, confident, and one of the most empathetic students we’ve had the pleasure to cover.
Need proof? Fair enough. Let me ask you this, dearest reader— How many high school students do you know that freely volunteer their time after school to hang out and help elementary school kids?
That's where you’ll find Justice after school on most days. “I try to help as much as I can here…Kids need people like me to look up to, you know…I know a lot of kids that have been through way worse than I have. But at the same time, I've been through a lot. So I know how to help the kids… Sometimes you just need someone to talk to and calm you down. I love them to death.”
She plans on turning this passion for volunteering into a career as a CAN, and is currently taking nursing classes through Shawnee Community College. College wasn’t always the goal, though. She was advised toward that decision by some stellar people. The reason she’s so in tune with the need for positive role models in her community is that she’s had a great one herself. “When I was young, you know, I really didn’t have a mom…My dad died when I was young, too. I have a stepdad, he stepped up and took care of me since I was a baby. Thank God for him.” She doesn't delay naming her stepdad the “best man I've ever met in my life.” Though she made the ultimate decision to go on to pursue a CNA certification, she recognizes her stepdad as the person who inspired her to go to college in the first place. She also doesn’t skimp on credit to the administrators and teachers at Meridian, who she says helped her come a long way.
If she could sit down with her younger self, she would tell that young lady to let go of the attempts to reconcile a relationship with her mother. She says the physical and mental toll wasn’t worth it in the long run. She adds, “I'll tell her just keep going. Keep doing your dream.”
Justice is fearless, and she wants to spread the goodwill around. If she had a magic wand, she’d use it to bring what she calls “culture” back to Mounds. “When I was little, we used to have T-ball teams and stuff like that,” she explains. “We don’t have that anymore.” These activities are necessary for the younger kids, she says, because they can be around older people that teach them to “do the right thing.” It’s not surprising that she’s already fulfilling that role for so many younger students and will, without a doubt, go on to encourage countless others.
It seems only right that we allow Justice the last word. After all, what more can we say when she says it so much better?
“At the end of the day, if you do what you wanted to do, and put your mind to it, it's gonna get done, regardless if it's hard or not. You’ve just gotta keep pushing through and that's what I've always been doing. That's my motto: ‘Push through, always get through it.’”