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Front Page - Friday, September 20, 2019

Brainerd High mock courtroom gets facelift

Framed by the finished product are Drew Smith of Five Star Painting of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Bar Foundation Fellow Mike St. Charles, Chattanooga Bar Association Executive Director Lynda Hood, Henshaw Construction owner Tracy Henshaw and CBA President Steve Jacoway. - Photograph provided

The Chattanooga Bar Association and Chattanooga Bar Foundation Fellows have renovated and remodeled the mock court at Brainerd High School, giving students a more complete picture of the U.S. legal system.

The local bar took on the project this summer as its part of a communitywide effort to physically rejuvenate the entire school. Dubbed “Brainerd Together,” the massive undertaking involved more than 30 sponsors coming together to clean, paint and make much-needed repairs.

“The quality of the environment impacts a student’s ability to learn,” says Christopher James, principal of Brainerd High. “These renovations will help our students excel in the classroom.”

The CBA became involved when Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, asked the bar to adopt Brainerd High’s mock court, which is located in the back of one of the school’s classrooms.

The CBF Fellows provided $2,500 for the facelift. CBA Executive Director Lynda Hood then coordinated a monthslong effort that included several local contractors and an artist from Knoxville.

Henshaw Construction tackled the woodwork, made repairs and installed a railing that serves as an authentic-looking bar between the mock court and the rest of the classroom.

Owner Tracy Henshaw and his crew put in close to 40-man hours on the project.

“My son Timothy [Henshaw] is an attorney, so we were honored to help inspire other high school students to consider a career in the law,” says Henshaw.

Five Star Painting of Chattanooga stained the court’s wood – adding 60 hours of labor to the project. Sherwin-Williams donated the stain, while Five Star provided the tools, labor and other supplies.

“We’re a small company, so this was a great opportunity for us to give back to the community,” says Five Star owner Andy Smith.

In addition, Hank’s Carpet & Flooring donated the flooring, Ledford Flooring installed the flooring and Gale Hinton, a 77-year-old Knoxville artist, painted murals of Lady Justice and the Hamilton County Courthouse on the walls of the classroom.

“We could not have completed this project without everyone’s help,” Hood says.

CBA President Steve Jacoway says he hopes the mock court makeover will encourage Brainerd High to join the association’s mock trial competition this school year.

“We included several public schools for the first time last school year,” Jacoway says. “This was a way to whet Brainerd High School’s appetite with regard to the legal field.”

Terrance Meadows, who teaches criminal justice at Brainerd High, says the high school could very well throw its hat into the ring this school year.

“We started talking about mock trial last year,” he says. “It looks like we might be able to get it started this year.”

Now that the work is complete, Hood is thanking everyone who was involved.

“This was one of the most rewarding projects I have had the privilege of creating and working on,” she says.