Justice High School in Lafayette, Colo. is a year-round public charter school that serves 84 kids. And, it has a rising football team.
Those who attend are deemed “unfit” for the state’s traditional school system, so they’re sent to Justice for a custom-designed education plan.
Underneath a desk, you may see one student wearing a parole bracelet around his ankle. You may come in contact with another whose girlfriend is due to give birth in three weeks. You might even hear stories about a kid who assaulted his teacher at his old school.
In 2015, Justice fielded an eight-man football team. They didn’t win a single game. A year later, there were 21 players on the roster and the squad was competing for a title.
Scores and stats don’t really matter here, however. The sport is providing these students with something much bigger.
“We’ve gone through many ups and downs here. I always say wins and losses aren’t really what it’s about here by any means,” head coach and English teacher Nels Thoreson told The Denver Post in a short video that won a National Morrow Award for photojournalism in sports. “We did not win a game last year, but I think the biggest thing that all the kids got out of it was finishing something; being committed to something and being there at the last whistle.”
Take a look at this great film not only documenting the power of football, but also chronicling the power of a committed coach.
If you’d like to learn more about Justice High School and its football program, visit The Denver Post.