By Curt Yeomans
Clayton County State Court Judge John C. Carbo admits Jonesboro High School's Mock Trial team is rebuilding after winning the national championship last year.
A half dozen members of the 2006-2007 team graduated in May 2007, so this year was slated to be one of rebuilding. However, Carbo looks at the members of his current team and sees a good chance to make some noise at the Georgia Mock Trial Competition's State Finals Tournament on March 15 and 16, at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Dr., Lawrenceville.
"I think out chances of winning another state championship are very good," Carbo said. "This team is as good as any [team] Jonesboro has ever had."
Jonesboro earned its seventh consecutive trip to the state tournament by winning the Clayton County Mock Trial Regional Tournament on Feb. 16. Jonesboro defeated Morrow High School in the final round of the regional tournament.
Team members this year are Laura Parkhouse, Dominique Delgado, Joe Strickland, Ralph Wilson, Jurod James, Brian Bady, Avion Jackson, Bridget Harris, Lindsay Hargis, Braeden Orr, Adrienne Marshall, Tabias Kelly, Jayda Hazell, Miguelande Charlestin and Kayla Daniels. The teacher-coaches are Anna and Andrew Cox, and the attorney coaches are Carbo, Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield, Henry County Assistant solicitor General Tasha Mosley, and law school student, Katie Powers.
The team will practice every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the Clayton County Courthouse from now until the state finals.
"As modest as this team is, we have some amazing talent this year," team member, James said. "The names are different, the faces are different, but we have just as much, if not more talent this year."
Carbo said Jonesboro was fortunate to get a "very talented" group of newcomers.
The judge calls new member, Harris, a reincarnation of Britt Walden, the captain of Jonesboro's National Championship team.
"Bridget stood out from the first day we met her back in August," Carbo said. "We immediately noticed her voice, presence and confidence."
Harris said the team has been coming together as a cohesive unit since practices began in December. There was some nervousness for the newcomers when the regional competition began, she said, but it quickly faded. Harris said the team members just needed to gain some competition experience. She thinks the team will be focused, and prepared to compete at the state finals.
"Well, we're expected to win," she said. "As hard as we've been working, I think we will."