NCRF accepting nominations for Frank Sarli Memorial and Student Intern scholarships

2017 Sarli and Intern recipients

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is now accepting nominations for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the Student Intern Scholarship. The deadline for both these scholarships is Dec. 10. Beginning this year, both scholarship opportunities are open to NCRA student members enrolled in any court reporting program, not just NCRA approved programs.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

NCRF’s Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship of $2,000 has benefited court reporting students nearing graduation for 20 years. The award honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students at the highest level of their education. Sarli, who was studying to become a professional pianist, turned to court reporting when he could no longer afford the tuition to music school. During his career, he opened Accurate Court Reporters in Orlando, Fla., Orange County’s first independent court reporting firm, and was a founding member of the Florida Shorthand Reporters Association. Sarli also served in numerous roles at the national level, including as a director for NCRA. He was the first Floridian to earn NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award.

“I chose to be a court reporter because I wanted a job that has a relatively flexible schedule to permit me to do volunteer work and dedicate time to being a minister,” said Jared Orozco, a student from Sheridan Technical College in Hollywood, Fla., and recipient of the 2017 Frank Sarli Scholarship.

“After I finish school, my ultimate goal would be to work in transcribing sermons to expedite their translation so it can be of benefit to people all over the world,” he added.

Court reporting students must be nominated by an instructor or advisor and meet a number of specific criteria to be eligible, including:

  • enrollment in a court reporting program
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 words per minute
  • having a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale,
  • demonstrating the need for financial assistance
  • possessing the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Submit a nomination for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship.

Student Intern Scholarship

Each year, NCRF awards two $1,000 scholarships to students who have completed or are currently performing the required internship portion of their court reporting program. They must also meet other specific criteria, including:

  • enrollment in a court reporting program
  • current membership in NCRA
  • having a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

A generous annual donation from the Reis Family Foundation helps fund these scholarships.

“Court reporting has always been the one job that has stuck out in my mind as my ‘dream job.’ I was always discouraged from going into this career because people are very misinformed about the opportunities available for a court reporter,” said Summer Vaughan, a student from College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., one of two recipients of the 2017 Student Intern Scholarships. “Once I began my court reporting internship, I knew I was right where I had always wanted to be,” she added.

Submit a nomination for the Student Intern Scholarship.

NCRF’s scholarships and grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraisers. To learn more about these scholarships, and to find the nomination forms, please visit

Former NCRA member Robert James Frolik passes

The Corvallis Gazette-Times reported on Nov. 7 that former NCRA member Robert Frolik, 94, died on Wed., Oct. 31, in Albany, N.Y. Frokil was a past president of the Oregon Court Reporters Association.

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NCRA member and firm CEO Deborah Weaver to be honored for Excellence in Legal Innovation

Debbie Weaver, owner and CEO of Alaris Litigation Services based in St. Louis, Mo., will be honored at the Missouri Lawyers Media inaugural Top Legal Innovation Awards for the creation of Alaris Online Litigation. The award is in the New Services or Products category, which recognizes innovative and high-utility tools that assist the work of an attorney.

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Alfred State College court reporting program earns high marks

For students looking to enter into court reporting or any number of in-demand STEM-related fields, Alfred State College, Alfred, N.Y., is rated an excellent choice by several online ranking resources, according to an article posted Nov. 7 by the Wellsville Daily Reporter.

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Retired NCRA member inducted into local Hall of Honor

Retired NCRA member Gerald Wilkinson, Kennett, Mo., was recently inducted into the Dunklin County Hall of Honor, according to an article posted Nov. 6 by the Delta Dunklin Democrat. Wilkinson, who is 90, was also an active member of the Missouri Court Reporters Association.

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Dreams never die

By Joshua Edwards

The JCR Weekly recently learned that NCRA member Joshua Edwards has a passion for singing and reached out to learn more about what motivates this CART captioner and court reporter from New York, N.Y.






Being a professional Broadway singer was the dream that brought me to New York 10 years ago. And the dream never dies. However, I knew that I did not want to follow the typical path that most aspiring singer-actors follow – a waiter or always working nightshift jobs. On a friend’s recommendation, I discovered court reporting school. That ended up being a wonderful path for me. I finished school in December 2010 and started taking depositions in New York City right away. Five years flew by. Then I applied for a job in federal court as an official reporter and spent one year there. A major reason I did not want to stay in court is that I felt like I would not have free time to pursue my artistic interests. Auditions for musicals and tours, for example, start at 9 in the morning. If you work a full-time day job, you will never have the opportunity to attend auditions. After leaving my court position, I became a CART captioner, which is now my full‑time job.

Both of my mother’s parents were music lovers. My grandfather was a minister of music in his church. I never got to hear him live, but we do have a few rare recordings of him singing church hymns. My grandmother used to love to hear me sing some of those hymns.

I only started taking lessons in college. My major was vocal performance. Part of the bachelor’s degree was to take diction classes for the four major sung languages: English, German, French, and Italian. We learned how to analyze words according to the International Phonetic Alphabet. When you study music, the foundation is usually classical. In singing you start with the five pure Italian vowels ah, eh, ee, oh, and uu. In Italian, the word for “but” is “ma.” It should be pronounced with a pure tall “ah” sound like the word “mom.” In English we have sloppier vowel constructions like “my.” That’s a combination of “ma” and “ee,” or a diphthong. But no court reporter would write the word “my” in two strokes PHA/AOE. Even more complicated are triphthongs like “our,” comprised of a-uu-er, which mercifully is written in one stroke. So to me, the study of singing in foreign languages is incredibly similar to the study of writing in steno.

Even though I learned to sing operatic arias from composers like Mozart and Puccini, my favorite music to sing is classic Broadway. The singer blends a strong trained voice with more contemporary music. I’ve performed in many plays and musicals — and even some operas. Two performances that stand out are being invited to sing “Nessun Dorma” in a packed courtroom when I was a federal reporter, and then entertaining our state convention attendees last month as the Phantom of the Opera singing “Music of the Night.” Watch the video.

Singing is incredibly rewarding. Singing, music, and any visual or other manner of art connect people on a higher plane in an otherwise chaotic world that is basically a cycle of life and death. Why do we as human beings enjoy things like good food, music, sports, entertainment, and other things which I won’t mention in this article? They make life worth living.

Joshua Edwards, RDR, CRR, is a CART captioner from New York, N.Y.

IN MEMORIAM: Gary Cramer, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

Gary Cramer, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

Gary Cramer, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

It is with great sorrow that I announce the passing of court reporter Gary Cramer of California. Gary succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s.

With his foresight, Gary developed, drafted, and brought to the California Court Reporters Association and NCRA many initiatives and ideas, which he then pushed through to implementation based on his tenacity and fierce advocacy for the court reporting profession. Often these were ideas ahead of their time.

These are just a few of the things he accomplished:

  • He developed the Transcript Reimbursement Fund law, which has paid for millions of dollars’ worth of reporter transcripts prepared for indigent civil litigants through part of the CSR license fees.
  • He developed language that resulted in the passage of a law that allows privately hired freelance court reporters to appear as pro tempore reporters in civil court cases when an official reporter is not available. (Although this law passed more than 25 years ago, it was unfortunately put into use in 2010 after the layoff of hundreds of official reporters in the state, thereby providing work and keeping certified shorthand reporters in civil courtrooms.)
  • He created a strategy that defeated more than 25 electronic recording bills between 1973 and 2003.
  • He wrote language that requires payment for transcripts on electronic media the same as a paper transcript. (At the time, the only thing in use was 5-inch floppy disks, so this was way ahead of its time.)
  • He defeated a bill that would have affected the sale of transcript copies.
  • He wrote language that indemnifies the CSR for production of rough drafts and realtime.
  • He negotiated an agreement with the Attorney General’s office prohibiting the sale or giving away of court reporter transcripts.
  • He appeared numerous times before the California state legislature to lobby and testify at hearings in support of court reporter legislation or against legislation harmful to freelance and official reporters.
  • He addressed the Judicial Council of California, where he explained how an electronic recording proposal would have negatively impacted freelance reporters and their transcript income.
  • He was the Legislative Advisor for CCRA from 1979 – 2001.
  • He participated in 1974-75 in Xerox Corporation’s pilot project to test and develop computer-aided transcription.
  • He served on California’s Court Reporter Board for four years, with two as its chair.
  • He convinced the California Court Reporter Board to conduct an experiment to test voice writers using computers on the same test as steno candidates to determine their ability and feasibility.
  • He chaired NCRA’s legislative committee for several years and led the effort to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to protect reporters.
  • He developed NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp and participated in training future leaders for nine years. This translated into the California Action Team Training.
  • He was appointed by the Chief Justice of California as a member of the Reporting of the Record Task Force that resulted in a comprehensive report that addressed official and freelance reporting issues.
  • He coordinated pro bono CART reporting services for the House Ear Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization with a mission to support people with hearing loss.
  • He testified on behalf of court reporter issues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

This brief list does not even touch on the work he did for the Los Angeles court reporter organizations and the unions in California.

Gary twice served as president of CCRA. He was an RPR and a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from both CCRA and NCRA. In addition, he was awarded a special “Innovator” award by CCRA to recognize the true extent of the unique work he did for the profession.

It is not an exaggeration to say many reporters in California would not have a job as a court reporter today but for the efforts of Gary Cramer.

Arnella Sims, FAPR, RPR, CRR (Ret.)
Los Angeles, Calif.


NCRA Board Member participates in elementary school mock trial

NCRA Board Member Cindy L. Isaacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe, Kan., participated in a mock trial with fifth- and sixth-graders hosted on Oct. 10, by the Santa Fe Trail Elementary School in Shawnee Mission, Kan. The students sat with Johnson County judges, attorneys, a deputy court administrator, and Isaacsen, who helped the students determine if Goldilocks, from “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” was guilty of a crime. These professionals visited the school to talk to students about the Constitution and branches of government.

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Watch the video.

Captioning a spelling bee

Chase Frazier

So what do you do when you are asked to report a spelling bee? If you have the opportunity to do so, Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, of Murrieta, Calif., says that it can be a fun experience and suggests making sure you know what the company you work for wants you to do. Here, he shares his experience.

JCR | Were you on-site for the spelling bee?
Frazier | I was remote. I believe it was a state spelling bee. The kids were 13 years old and under, I believe. It lasted about four hours.

JCR | Did you get the list of words early? Did you have the list printed next to you or did you have them all in the dictionary?
Frazier | I wasn’t allowed to write the word when the judges said it. I would write: “Spell ____.”

Then, I would write everything else and then fingerspell the student’s spelling. They didn’t want there to be any way for cheating, so I was not given any prep. And when they used the word in a sentence, I had the blurb (contest word) come up in place of the word.

It wasn’t that hard to just drop the word because the words were crazy. I’ve never heard of most of them, so it quickly became natural to write the blurb.

When they spelled, I could fingerspell the word; but when the judges were saying it, I couldn’t.

JCR | Did you feel for any of the contestants when they missed or were you just too focused on what you needed to do?
Frazier | It was cool to see them do so well, but it was sad to see some go because they did so great in previous rounds.

JCR | Did you end up adding those words to your dictionary or did they seem too esoteric? Or did you pick and choose?
Frazier | Most of the words were just so far out there. They were spelling bee words, so, no, I don’t think I added any of them. I may have added a couple that seemed reasonable, though.

NCRA A to Z Program offered in Oklahoma

Tulsa World reported on Sept. 30 that the Oklahoma Court Reporters Association is holding a free NCRA A TO ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program beginning Oct. 8.

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