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THE SECOND HALF: Embracing my passion. I’m retiring, but I’m not

By Sonia Trevino

When I let people know that I would be retiring at the end of 2024, I was met with, “What? No, you can’t. The profession will not be the same without you.” While I was humbled by those sentiments, these are truths: The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west; life will go on; I believe there is a God; and the profession will be fine when I ultimately leave for good. For now I am leaving full-time employment after 41 years, but I’m not leaving the profession. In fact, I am excited to take this step to fully embrace my longtime passion of working with students.

But first I need to thank a lot of people. As an official, I planned my vacations around my very full-time court schedule. I was not required to do so, but I was conscious of the fact that subs are expensive. It is hard for me to find a sub to cover my court, so I take most vacations when the court does. On the rare occasions that I have gone on vacation or to conferences when the court has been in session, it has been because of the kindness of reporters who have put me on their schedule months in advance.

With son Ruben

While I served on the TCRA board, especially as president back in 2021-2022, many times the schedule was adjusted to allow for “my TCRA life.” In fact, I was not sure I’d be able to attend the 2024 NCRA Conference and Expo until a reporter from another county most kindly reached out to cover for me. Thank you to everyone who has stepped in for me and covered my position to make this possible, and thank you to my judge who adjusted the court schedule so I could make that portion of my volunteer life work. 

While I have been extremely blessed with many opportunities that have knocked on my door, I’m also looking forward to stepping away from working nights and weekends on records and appeals and trying to make attorneys understand that I do not just hit the print button. After all these years, I still cannot figure out why something I reported years or months ago is suddenly needed ASAP. My “ASAP” is reasonable, but I have learned to say, “Not that fast, I have plans,” or whatever the case may be. For about the past ten years, laptops stay home when I take a vacation.

In all this time, the one thing that has never changed is my desire to assist students in getting to certification. That fire burns brighter now. I think I’ve been mentoring since before mentoring was a cool thing to do. The first student I ever mentored has been in the profession well over 35 years; the latest, three years. I have a group of future reporters I’m working with through “I Am Team Steno” who are making great progress. I even joined the world of TikTok to promote the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program and the profession overall, and I show up to assist as a coleader in the classes at Del Mar College.

I visit on the phone with future reporters, and we work through issues so that when test time comes, all those issues will, hopefully, be behind them. There’s free dictation on the group page that is growing, encouraging messages, and advice from not only me, but other reporters who work with future reporters as well. It takes a village. Along the way these future reporters build up confidence in themselves. That’s golden!

I also make myself available to those who pass the Texas CSR for three months after they certify to answer questions, proofread, and just basically deal with real-life court reporting. That door, however, is always open after that three-month period.

So yes, I eagerly anticipate December 31, 2024, to retire my machine from our daily love affair. But I more eagerly await January 1, 2025, to redouble my efforts to assist future reporters attain certification and come into their own as working reporters. I cannot think of a more worthy place to be after I retire than assisting our future and new reporters. Stay steno strong! 

Sonia Trevino is an official court reporter based in Corpus Christi, Texas. As of June 2024, she is also an instructor at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. “It isn’t about the money,” she says. “It’s about reaching more students hands-on. I’m not done in this profession yet; but now that I’ll have time, I’m putting more energy into keeping steno machine students in school and getting them to certification.” She can be reached at