Photo by Johnny Jackson
Jabria Hazell (right) performs a direct examination of witness Mylon Craig during rehearsals for Jonesboro High School’s mock trial team this month.
JONESBORO — Callie Christian found a quiet space in a corner of the Clayton County Justice Center, where she could rehearse lines aloud.
“Eventually, you get this mental block like, ‘Can you do it?’ ” she said.
Christian, 17, is a senior at Jonesboro High School. She is a fourth-year member and team co-captain with senior Nancy Saucedo, 17. Their team has earned the chance to compete for a state title this weekend.
The team will participate in the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition Saturday and Sunday at the Gwinnett Justice Center in Lawrenceville.
Christian said she is cautiously optimistic about her team’s chances at state.
“Normally, every year you have your one weak spot but this year we feel really good about every aspect of our team,” said Christian. “I like our experience as well as the fact that we’re pretty united as a team. We’re all willing to help each other.”
Anna Cox, a Latin teacher at Jonesboro High, is a co-teacher coach with her husband Andrew Cox, a chemistry teacher at the school. She has been coaching since 2005.
“For mock trial we’re looking for students who are dynamic, who are smart, who speak well, who think on their feet and who are dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to put together a trial,” said Cox.
The 16-member team took fourth place in the Empire City Invitational in October. The international competition was held at Kings County Courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the path of Hurricane Sandy. The team was stranded there for two days due to the effects of the storm before chartering a bus back to Jonesboro.
“They scored really well for a bunch of rookies in New York,” said Cox. “After competing in New York, I don’t think they have nerves.”
However, she acknowledged, “Georgia is a whole new story.”
The team’s attorney coaches include State Court Judge John Carbo, State Court Judge Linda Cowen, Assistant District Attorney Katherine Powers and Solicitor General Tasha Mosley. Long-time coaches Carbo, Powers and Mosley have helped the team to previous national titles, most recently in 2007 and 2008.
“We expect them to do well at state,” Cox said. “This is one of the best teams we’ve coached in several years, top to bottom — great actors, the attorneys are dynamic and they think on their feet. We’re hoping to bring home a state championship.”