Justice Paying It Forward Outside Classroom

"There's nothing more satisfying than you do good, and then you help a friend do better," the Seabreeze senior said. "Like an assist in basketball, or being part of the play in baseball. It’s all working together to accomplish one goal."

Justice is not just a proponent of his own athletic success, but a cheerleader for others. 

"I wouldn’t necessarily say Joseph’s one of those kids that’s always about himself," his mother Anisa said. "He’s always about the other kid, the other teammate and rallying others to come along."

Be it in football, baseball, or in the classroom, Joe Justice pursues excellence. Not only does he have a 4.0 GPA in high school, but also in Daytona State’s Associate of Arts program. That puts him on track to pursue his dream: attend FAU and become a doctor.

"Helping people when they have injuries is really fulfilling to me, and I kind of always take an interest in it," he said. "And like, if someone were to sprain an ankle, it’s pretty cool knowing what to be able to do."

He’d know from experience. Sports have been part of his life since he was three years old, and he looked forward to his senior year on the grid iron. But just three games in, it was cut short when he broke his left leg. He was immediately concerned, but not for himself.

"That was really hard, because he came down really hard on himself," Anisa said. "Because it wasn’t just football he was losing, he couldn’t participate in flag football with Special Olympics, which he was losing."

"Being part of the Special Olympics, realizing this is just so minor, my leg will heal. Other kids out there would do whatever it takes to be in my position right now," he said in reflection.

For the past five years, Joe has been heavily involved as a Special Olympics Unified partner. His mother pushed the idea of volunteering early on, and now, it’s become an irreplaceable part of his life.

"Sometimes I try to get Joe to understand, which he has done, it’s breaking down the barriers," Anisa said. "They’re no different just because they’re in a wheel chair."

It's an idea he’s embraced, even in his toughest moments like his leg injury. He just wanted to continue to make an impact.

"He said 'okay, flag football’s out, basketball’s gonna be out now,' he joined the bowling team for Special Olympics because he said, 'I can do that with one leg, and that’s what he did,'" Anisa said.

He’s an accomplished multi-sport athlete in his own right, but his medals are not for his performance, they’re for his participation and desire to help others.

"I’ve always felt it’s better to help people who are less fortunate, and being part of that community, you see the pure enjoyment and the innocence of happiness," Joe said. "Because you can go through life and let something bring you down, but you walk into a community like that and all it is is smiles."

Just the right kind of attitude for the ultimate teammate.

“He’s an amazing, when I say amazing, young man. I couldn’t ask for a better child to have raised," his mother said. "He goes above and beyond in anything that he does. He’s just one of the most caring human beings I’ve ever met, and sometimes you look at it as a parent, and you’re humbled to be the parent.”