Empathy, Morality, and Justice

We had to write an editorial that we submitted for the New York Times Sixth Annual Editorial Contest. I wrote about the Law and the controversy with it. Here it is:


There’s no such thing as justice in the absence of morality, nor are there such a thing as morality in the absence of empathy; but justice is rarely present at the same time as empathy. If our experiences and influences shape our understanding of the world, and empathy by definition is “the ability to share or understand the feelings of another.” then it makes sense that if we understand what another person has been through, we will judge them accordingly. For example, if Joe killed Bob because Bob killed Joe’s mom, your reaction would be different then if Joe had killed Bob for no reason. Though the “avenger”, Joe, is guilty of murder, instead of sentencing them to some harsh penalty you Joe would most likely serve a few years with the possibility of bail and probation or Joe may just get off innocent. That’s not the law. In the law Joe would go to jail for murder or manslaughter plain and simple but because we have empathy than we are more sensitive to his situation but the law doesn’t allow that.

Understanding the reasoning behind certain actions may alter how we judge someone. So when asked if something is “just” or “right” the correct answer should be is “….well it all depends.” When pursuing justice we should be moral but not absent of emotion, void of empathy or without heart; asking such a thing of humanity would be both immoral and impossible. Then why is it that laws are objective, why is it that the situation of a crime does not matter in the eyes of lady justice and why is the jury forced to go against their oath. We fight against our own nature and try to isolate ourselves from a situation where prosecutors and defense attorneys play a game heavily resting on emotions.

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The vision of the Graduate

I feel that I have achieved growth in being able to analyze information and effectively share ideas and what I have learned. In Humanities we have been actively been working on and focused on how to analyze information a present that information in order to show our understanding which showed in our midterms. Also in Design Studio, during our podcast, we did a lot of research and I was personally able to critically analyze the information get an idea out of it and help my group better our podcast.
I feel that I want to grow in my efficiency in teamwork while creating a project because I feel that more than one mind working on something together is not just a good thing but a practical thing. I  plan to achieve this goal by trying to throw myself into more situation that is group oriented so that I can just learn how to communicate and work in a group effectively and also so that I can learn techniques I can learn in order to make both group and partner work better. I also feel that just learning to listen to people more instead of imposing my will would help my productivity in class or in any other settings.

What Happened: Genius Hour


I’m done with my Genius Hour Project. I’ve gotten a lot of stats I’ve even gotten close to beating Usain Bolt’s Record of 9.58; with a 9.81. My vertical is really high as well It can reach around 38-41 in. My vitals have been off the charts, my hearts pulse rate is 88 beats per min. I feel that my project has not only been a success but has really inspired me to do more if I can get this healthy this easily and reach these heights then what else can I do if I were to work even harder? The possibilities are virtually endless. I encountered a few problems like the weather but I feel like I handled my problems very well. I think I expressed a growth mindset (According to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” A growth mindset would be the opposite but still have some similarities like documenting intelligence but they would develop it further.) because I didn’t freeze or give up when I encountered something I tried to find my way over or around it. In other situations, I feel like I would want to react in a similar fashion because doing so would help me work more efficiently. I like how I felt during the project everything felt right and free I was more awake, though it might have been cold when I ran I felt on fire and it was amazing. I’m thankful for this experience and I would love to do something like this again. Thank you Ms. von Brachel, thank you very much.

About Me

Hey, it’s me, Junior Laforest, your friendly neighborhood InLab freshman. A few words about me: I’m a young Socrates and a speedster at heart. Another thing y’all should know is that I’m very verbal and energetic but in my free time I can still buckle down and enjoy a good book. I’m a passionate learner and I love to question everything; I want to know how everything and how everyone works. One thing that I believe a lot of people would agree with me on is that history is the greatest teacher because that is where the greats live and what we model life after. Therein lies the reason why I want to make history. They will know my name


What The Future Holds ( Or what I think it Does at Least)


So as you guys probably know I’m a freshman in GHS Innovation Lab. InLab as a whole is a new experience for me because it differs from the more customary style of teaching. I am attracted to the style InLab uses because it’s actually really interesting and makes a whole lot of sense; that’s not to say I’ve had a negative experience in my past learning. It’s just that when it comes to the traditional and InLab, I prefer InLab though I genuinely have a lot of positive opinions towards the traditional. “If it ain’t broke don’t fiddle with it.” It’s a common expression but it’s not always true, the traditional method works fine and gets the job done for most people just not for me. The project-based learning InLab teaches works really well for me, which I have known because of some experience with the style. Somethings are old but they ain’t gold.


The year has just started and I’ve already experienced quite a lot; I was ready for most of GHS due to my sister’s experiences and testimony. Although her testimony is not the same as living the experience itself, the new environment was actually really fascinating. The freedom that GHS  has gifted us with, provides so many opportunities to explore our individual interests and that’s why I chose Innovation Lab. InLab for me is more than just a class it’s a chance to ready myself for the future and how a career may be later on due to its project-based learning format. In Design Studio and Humanities I haven’t experienced all that much but how they carry and lead each class inspires me and I love almost every moment of it.


I expect Design Studio to be very supportive of my other classes like my partner in some type of spy mission filling me in on stuff that will help me in other classes like how to interview people, how to research and just be an overall bonus for me in this school year. Humanities is very interesting to me it’s a mix of two classes that make sense together and it feels really important I guess that’s one of the reasons I decided to join it kinda feels like a college seminar type course and I just like the ambience, going further I expect to make new friends that are interested in what I am interested in and to create well with one another whether it be essays or not.


It’s your friendly neighborhood freshman signing out,

Junior Laforest

Quote of The Week: Never Wound a Snake; Kill It.



I was doing this project in Humanities in which we had to make a slide explaining our selves and we had a lot of things we could do on it. As I was working my twin brother happened to go glance over a quote he had liked; “Never wound a snake; kill it.” a quote by Harriet Tubman. My interpretation of this is to always finish what you start to complete everything you set out to do because if you don’t complete anything your not going to have done anything. Take for example Julmis the Haitian hurdler in the 2016 Olympic games even though he failed at the first hurdle he got back up and kept going. If he had stopped people would have been said he’s a quitter or not of thought anything of him but because he finished there was a positive buzz instead of negative he was praised for finishing nobody even cared about who won because his perseverance his tenacity shone brighter than the winner’s gold medal.