MacCormac College in Chicago hosted its first annual Ultimate Type Race Challenge in November, offering the winner a prize of $1,000, as a way to bring attention to the profession of court reporting.
“Until I started here at MacCormac College, I didn’t realize what a wonderful profession court reporting is. What better way to introduce people to the field but to lure them in with a speed typing contest. I thought this would be a great opportunity for people to learn more about it,” says Dr. Marnelle Alexis, president of MacCormac College, who came up with the concept of the speed typing contest.
The first-place winner was Braden Mende, a student in MacCormac’s court reporting program. He typed an average of 120 wpm. Another MacCormac court reporting student, Jenna Walsh, won second place. Third place was secured by Maellen Pittman, RDR, CLVS, a court reporting agency owner.
The contest was open to anyone who wanted to enter, and the contest room was filled by court reporting students, agency owners, federal court reporters, and people off the street. “Our very first registrant was a 75-year-old woman who walked in off the street, saying she just had to enter,” says Alexis. She had worked a few blocks away as a secretary for many years and wanted to show off her typing skills.
The retired secretary said that competing in the contest made her feel 50 years old, according to Alexis, who also pointed out that typing was considered an important skill in high schools from the 1960s to the early 1980s. While keyboarding is still being taught, many high school students also have great finger dexterity with texting. Hosting typing contests “is actually a good way to get into the high schools, and this could lead to more students getting into the court reporting profession,” says Alexis.
This was the first year for the event. The second annual Ultimate Type Race Challenge is slated for Nov. 15, 2014.