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Students practice for mock trial contest

On the front row from left are Tayleah Cash, Kaitlin Harmon and Samantha Hightower. Behind them are Erin Toole and Xavier Jacobs. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

On the front row from left are Tayleah Cash, Kaitlin Harmon and Samantha Hightower. Behind them are Erin Toole and Xavier Jacobs. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Katie Powers judges the performances of members of Jonesboro High School Mock Trial Team. In front of her are, from left, timekeeper Devine Harmon and Altin Kearson. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Tayleah Cash cross-examines Andrew Cox, Jonesboro chemistry teacher and Mock Trial team coach. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — Members of Jonesboro High School Mock Trial Team raised no objections to the weather Tuesday as they took advantage of canceled classes to brush up on their courtroom skills for district competition Feb. 22.

Part of the team practiced with coaches Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers and Andrew Cox, a chemistry teacher at the school, and part with Clayton County State Court Chief Judge John Carbo and Judge Linda Cowen.

Jonesboro High School has a long tradition of winning mock trial championships. Powers was on the team in 2001 and 2002, the year Jonesboro won state championship. Then-Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracy Graham Lawson judged the first round of Powers’s competition.

Her affinity for debate led to her career as a lawyer. Her passion led to her coaching the kids who are taking the steps she did not so long ago. Lawson is now Clayton County District Attorney and Powers’ boss.

This year’s team members were supposed to meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday for practice but inclement weather was expected so it was moved to that morning. The move fit in perfectly with the closing of schools.

Of the five teams winning region this year, four are in Clayton County. Jonesboro student Samantha Hightower won for outstanding attorney and Kiara Scott won the Julie Jobe Award.

The Julie Jobe Award was established in 2000, after the Riverdale High School Mock Trial Team lost Julie Jobe, one of its team members, to leukemia in 1999. Julie attended the first Law Academy in 1998 and was a charter member of the Georgia High School Student Bar Association. She also collected numerous honors as an outstanding attorney.

The top three teams will compete against the top three teams in Covington’s region. Jonesboro will host the district competition Feb. 22. The winners go on to state competition March 15.

Powers said they are building another winning team from mostly underclassmen.

“But they perform like seniors,” she said. “I know they are excited and looking forward to the challenge.”