My interest in court reporting began at age 14 during a career day when I sat in with a court reporter. Career days, how ever, have become somewhat extinct. So how are high schoolers supposed to learn that court reporters don’t use those old waterfall-type machines that cascade paper into piles on the floor and that we truly have embraced technology? Well, if their only exposure to our field is through Hollywood, students will never know the truth. But if they take time to participate in career events like the one I participated in, they’ll be in for a big surprise — a pleasant one, of course, but a surprise, nonetheless.
Who can we thank for providing this wondrous shock? Business Professionals of America, of course — or BPA, for short. If you’re not familiar with BPA, it is a career and technical student organization. With more than 43,000 members in more than 2,300 chapters in 23 states, BPA has positioned itself as the leading CTSO for students who wish to pursue careers in business management, office administration, information technology, and other related fields. Since its inception, BPA has proven to students that they can rely on the organization to provide them with the absolute latest information on their careers of interest.
On March 22 and 23, BPA Michigan held its conference in Grand Rapids. Representatives of the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters participated with a break-out session. The session, “We Are Technology: The Four Amazing Fields of Realtime Reporting,” overflowed with more than 300 students, and questions were aplenty.
Break-out sessions weren’t the only offerings for students; there were also a number of different competitions. Those who placed at the regional level competed in Grand Rapids at state-level events. Those placing in Grand Rapids moved on to Nationals in Orlando, Fla.
On top of all that, MAPCR also staffed an information booth — or should I say, I helped staff the information booth. There, I gave my realtime spiel. Students hovered in droves to watch Melinda Dexter, MAPCR’s president-elect, write realtime to her iPad. They were amazed. “I’ve never heard of this career,” is what we were told over and over. And the students said, “This is so awesome!”
So, did MAPCR sway students to consider a career in realtime reporting? Only time will tell. Seeds were sowed, however, and as we all know, it’s the planting that leads to growing.
MAPCR is starting a fruitful experience with its BPA chapter. Wouldn’t you like to help expand the field? Just imagine how many students could be reached if all state associations’ leadership participated in their BPA state leadership conferences. If your association would like to take that first step too, go online to www.bpa.org/ about/saac to locate a BPA chapter in your state. Reach out. Offer to present. Open thousands of students’ minds to consider our amazing profession for themselves.
Represent your state with an awesome booth demonstration by going to www.mapcr.org to order your public relations kit, which includes customizable trifold brochures, a PowerPoint presentation, and “We Are Technology” t-shirts.