Past NCRA member Rita M. Chegar passes away

MyValleyTributes.com reported on May 22 that former NCRA member and retired court reporter Rita M. Chegar passed away on May 19. Chegar worked at the Mahoning County courthouse in Ohio.

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The benefits of pro bono work

Lisa Migliore Black

By Lisa Migliore Black

The call from the out-of-state attorney seemed much like any other. “We’ll need a court reporter and videographer to cover a deposition. Are you available?” But this call turned unusual.

After obtaining the scheduling information, the next question was, “Do you do pro bono work?”

Now, I’ve done pro bono work before for select parties who couldn’t afford our services, for the Veterans History Project, even offering our services on immigration cases for which our existing clients were providing their legal services free of charge. My only hesitancy here was the lack of knowledge of this particular firm, the case at hand, or any of their history with pro bono work. This left me wondering if I would be agreeing to help promote a noble cause, aid someone truly indigent in seeking justice, or just stupidly discounting our services. Hesitantly, I said, “Yes.”

I provided the caller with a summary of our state association’s guidelines for pro bono work. In part, the pro bono guidelines state, “A volunteer reporter will provide 50 pages of transcript at no charge. All subsequent pages will be billed at the reporter’s regular page rate unless the reporter waives this fee or negotiates a discounted page rate.” The client happily agreed, and the first deposition date was set.

On the eve of the deposition, the reporter assigned to cover the case did a bit of research to prepare for the following day’s proceedings. The search of the case style, “State of Florida v. Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin,” resulted interesting details about the case. Aguirre was serving a sentence on Florida’s death row for the murder of his neighbors Cheryl Williams and Carole Bareis, and his team of lawyers was seeking to have his conviction overturned.

“On the morning of June 17, 2004, Aguirre found the bodies of Cheryl Williams and her mother, Carol Bareis, in their trailer home. They had been stabbed dozens of times. Distressed by the violent scene, Aguirre checked the victims to see if they were still breathing, at which point he got the victims’ blood on his clothing. Realizing they were dead, Aguirre picked up a knife that was near Williams’ body, fearful that the perpetrator was still present, but then panicked, throwing the knife into the yard and returning to his neighboring trailer.

“When questioned by the police, Aguirre initially reported that he knew nothing about the murders; at that time, Aguirre was an immigrant from Honduras with no criminal history but feared deportation from the United States. Later that same day, however, he asked to speak to police again and voluntarily disclosed that he’d been in the trailer earlier that morning and discovered the bodies. The officers arrested him that day and charged him with evidence tampering. He remained a person of interest and was held without bond until he was charged 10 days later with the double murders. Aguirre had no previous criminal history.”

Our witness was to be Samantha Williams, the daughter and granddaughter of the victims. Williams did not appear for the first date scheduled, but ultimately the deposition did proceed. The attorney who hired us represented Aguirre through the Innocence Project, a volunteer organization whose mission is to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and seek justice reform, a mission near and dear to my heart.

Because I am a videographer, court reporter, and firm owner, I was able to pay the reporter in full, donate my time as the videographer, and heavily discount the remaining charges to about one-fourth of the usual cost. The payoff for me, other than the gratification of doing the right thing? Approximately nine months later, our office learned of Mr. Aguirre’s exoneration.

The pro bono work I’ve done has proven to be some of the most interesting and personally rewarding work of my career. This case was no exception. We applaud the efforts of the Innocence Project and take great pride in the role we were able to play in our justice system.

Lisa Migliore Black is a freelance reporter and owner of Migliore & Associates, based in Louisville, Ky. She can be reached at Lisacr99@hotmail.com.

DMACC Court Reporting Career Fair

What started out as a request for students to visit District 7 turned into a full-blown court reporting career fair! It all started a year ago when Jeanne Jacobs and Karla Lester, RMR, CRR, members of the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA), invited us to bring the court reporting students to their district so they could show them what a great place it is to work.

That seemed like a great idea and something the students would enjoy. But we realized that other folks would probably request that we visit their districts as well. I could see us traveling in a school bus all over the state. Oh, but we’ve got classes to teach and tests to pass.

After visiting with ICRA President Rachel Waterhouse, RPR, we decided that a career fair might be a good solution. The event was originally scheduled in February during Court Reporting & Captioning Week but was canceled because of bad weather.

On April 2, six court reporters, one district court administrator, two judges, four freelance firm owners, and the interim director of human resources for the Iowa Judicial Branch came to the Newton campus of the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Des Moines, Iowa. The top speed students talked with employers first; then the middle speed students; and finally, the theory students. 

Following the fair, employers and DMACC administration and faculty members participated in a roundtable discussion on strategies for recruiting students and building the college’s court reporting program.

Theory students reported feeling a little nervous, even intimidated, at first. However, they all had great comments about how much they learned and how friendly everyone was. Following are sample comments from theory students:

  • My favorite part was that every single court reporter loves their job.
  • I truly appreciated the openness and friendliness of everyone wanting to see all of us succeed.
  • I believe that only good can come out of it. I was intimidated at first, but the conversation was easy and natural.
  • This was a great opportunity for us to feel a more confident in the profession.
  • I feel a little more connected in the court reporting community.
  • It helped me see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
  • I think it is a great idea to repeat this event annually. It benefits both employers and students.  Employers get to “sell” their firm or district and students get to see all of the options they have.
  • Please have this event annually. I wanted to stay at every table longer!

Second-year students offered these comments:

  • One thing I really appreciated was that all employers, whether freelance or official, asked me what route I was interested in taking. They were all kind and gracious regardless of whether or not I was considering their area or method of reporting. The overall atmosphere of the job fair was one of enthusiasm and excitement for the new reporters who will be working all throughout Iowa. I feel very fortunate to have been educated in this state filled with professional and welcoming reporters.
  • All of the interactions I had with different employers were extremely positive and very encouraging. I am anxious to begin the job application process and to see what the future holds. I am confident that whatever path I choose will include seasoned and accomplished reporters willing to help me along the way.
  • All in all, the experience was nothing short of amazing and much needed for everyone.
  • I think every table offered the opportunity that if I ever wanted to sit in and shadow for a day, that I am more than welcome to. Everyone was so thoughtful and encouraging. It was great to feel like a professional that day, and I hope DMACC continues to provide this opportunity in the future.
  • I honestly don’t think the day could have gone any better. I really enjoyed talking to everyone. I will keep an open mind, as I get closer to graduation, to both freelancing and official, because both offer great job opportunities.
  • Everyone I spoke to was nice, and it sounds like there are many wonderful places I can work in the future. I am excited to see where I will end up.

Thank you to all of the employers listed below:

District 5:                    Chelsey Wheeler, RPR, official court reporter

District 6:                    Sarah Hyatt, RPR, official court reporter and the Hon. Judge Lars Anderson

District 7:                    Karla Lester, RMR, CRR, freelance court reporter

Jeanne Jacobs, court reporter

District 8:                    Kailey Booten, court reporter

                                    Kari Diggins, RPR, official court reporter

                                    Heidi Baker, district court administrator

                                    The Hon. Judge Mary Ann Brown

Iowa Judicial District: Jessica Holmes, interim director of human resources

Sarah Dittmer, RPR, freelance court reporter

Susan Frye, RPR, freelance court reporter and owner of Susan Frye Court Reporting

Andrea Kreutz, CLVS, and owner of Huney-Vaughn Reporting

Sean Sweeney, owner of Sweeney Court Reporting

Mixing business with pleasure: Working in an RV

NCRA member Lisa Johnston, RMR, CRR, CRC, casts off ties in Melbourne, Fla., every year to travel across the United States with her husband. Rather than forgo her usual work
as a broadcast and CART captioner, she set herself up to caption from wherever she and her husband parked the RV. Mixing business with pleasure was just right for the two of them.

Johnston spoke to JCR Contributing Editor Deanna Baker, FAPR, RMR, about the journey and all the stops in between.

BAKER | How long was the planning process to make sure you had all the work equipment you needed, as well as possible back-ups?

JOHNSTON | I packed all my equipment as if I were going to an event to work onsite. I have two laptops, two writers, two realtime cables, headphones, etc. Over the years, I have developed a checklist to make sure I have everything before I leave. I also bring the huge notebook of prep I have accumulated over the years. I travel a lot with work, and so, by now, I know what I need.

BAKER | Did you forget anything or wish you had brought something?

JOHNSTON | No, I haven’t forgotten anything yet — hopefully, I won’t ever forget something! I’m not too proud to admit that I now and will always use a checklist to make sure I have everything I need.

BAKER | Was all of your work strictly through the internet, sending data as well as audio?

JOHNSTON | I do remote CART captioning while traveling in our RV using the internet. I have two wireless routers that act as mobile WiFi hotspots, one with Verizon and one with AT&T; and both work really well. In certain parts of the country, one wireless provider may give me a stronger signal than the other, so I use what I feel gives me the most internet strength at that location.

I get my audio by dialing in using my cell phone. I have also used Skype for audio in the past as well. That can be iffy at times, so I always do some testing before an event starts.

BAKER | Any glitches along the way?

JOHNSTON | When I first started this journey of traveling on the road and CART captioning, before there were cell towers everywhere, I had to take my wireless hotspot and check the strength where the RV was “docked,” and if I had bad reception, I would get in my car and drive and see where the strongest service was. Many times, I’ve had to write on my machine, with the laptop on the seat next to me in the back seat of my car (we have a car we bring on our trips, which we tow behind our RV). I’ve been in Nowhere, U.S.A., in some unique locations sitting in my car taking down an assignment! Fun times!

Cell towers are the norm nowadays, so I don’t have to necessarily always be in a “big city” like I used to be to find a strong internet signal strength. I now can get good internet service most anywhere, thank goodness!

BAKER | Are your clients aware of your traveling, or has it been that they haven’t noticed a difference at all?

JOHNSTON | I strive to provide my clients with seamless captioning services and have been able to do so successfully for many years. As long as they are receiving the product they need, they are happy. I provide only CART captioning while on the road; no broadcast captioning which may use a landline and encoders.

I hope my reputation speaks for itself. If I am requested to support someone who needs communication access, I will go out of my way to accommodate. I have been in this profession for 34 years now, I love what I do every single day, and I hope that shows. If I can leave a person or situation and they have a smile on their face, then I’m happy and I’ve done my job successfully!

BAKER | I’m “assuming” your husband was not driving at the time you were working?

JOHNSTON | No way do I work while my husband is driving down the road. First off, it’s not very comfortable doing it that way for me, as not all roads in the U.S. are nice terrain and can get very bouncy and unstable. So, if we’re driving to a destination and I need to stop to take a job, we will pull into a rest area or at a truck stop/gas station and that works well for me. My husband is my fabulous support staff!

BAKER | Was there a particular goal for your travels?

JOHNSTON | We have no goals in our yearly travels. One year we head northeast to Maine, with many stops along the way, and the next year we head somewhere west (last year was Washington state; most years to California) with many stops along the way. We’ve been from one end of Canada to the other. We’ve been to all 50 states, and 49 traveling in our RV. Maine is one of our favorite states, so every other year we enjoy traveling up Maine’s coast and enjoying some lobster!

BAKER | Anything unexpected pop up that you didn’t plan on?

JOHNSTON | Nothing unexpected comes to mind right now. Pre-planning pays off!

BAKER | How many other colleagues were you able to visit on your travels?

JOHNSTON | In our travels across the beautiful United States, I try to reach out to some dear friends and colleagues when I know I will be nearby. In Flagstaff, Ariz., I had dinner with you and Lori Yeager Stavropoulos, RPR, CRR, CRC, and their spouses; in Mobile, Ala., spending time with Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Elliot Carter was such a treat and highlight; in Seattle, I just missed seeing Darlene Pickard, RDR, CRR, CRC, as she was out of state the week I was there. And I keep promising Toni Christy, RPR, CRR, CRC, that we will make a trip to the San Diego area soon! Such good friends that I love seeing!

BAKER | Would you recommend this as a way to travel and work at the same time?

JOHNSTON | For me, this is the best of both worlds. I work a lot with clients who have meetings throughout the week. That is all I want to cover while I’m traveling, so while traveling on the road, I choose to work 2-3 days a week, which is perfect, because I can cover their meetings and yet still “play” and explore the areas my husband and I visit.

I choose to keep my workload light and not be constantly working, because I enjoy my time off sightseeing where we are traveling. We usually stay in a location a few days, so in that timeframe, we like to play tourists and see what the area has to show us, so I don’t want to always be inside working. But I love the flexibility to do what I want and work when I want!

BAKER | What have you seen on your travels that really stuck out for you?

JOHNSTON | We’d both always wanted to see Mount Rushmore, and the first time was such a treat. We love going to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Living an hour from Walt Disney World, I’d always wanted to see Disneyland in California, and that was fun to go to. Growing up in Florida with no seasons really, it’s been a treat for us to see the beauty of the United States. Fall is our favorite time to travel; seeing the leaves change their colors is breathtaking!

BAKER | Anything else you’d like to pass along to the readers?

JOHNSTON | My husband and I have been RV travelers for 15 years now and love every single minute of our adventures. Come join me! The United States is a great place to call your office!

NCRA’s CRR and CRC certifications showcase realtime skills

To mark the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, all through May we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

NCRA’s Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certifications reflect that the professionals who hold one or both are at the top of their game when it comes to providing first-rate and accurate realtime services.

Earning the nationally recognized CRR certification signifies that the professional who has received it has demonstrated their timely knowledge of cutting-edge realtime technology and proficiency and accuracy of reporting. CRR credentials ensure a reporter is an expert in the specialized field of realtime reporting. They are highly sought after because of their proven precision in reporting and ability to deliver high-quality realtime services.

Vanessa Alyce

“Acquiring my CRR certification gives me such a great sense of accomplishment, and it has actually enhanced my confidence in my abilities as a reporter,” said Vanessa Alyce, RPR, from Las Cruces, N.M., who earned her CRR in January.

“NCRA’s certification program is a great way to measure our skills as reporters and serves as a testament to the professionalism of the court reporting industry,” added Alyce, who has worked as both a freelance and official reporter for a little more than 26 years.

Marla Faith Knox

“This CRR certification has reinvigorated my career and the path I chose 24 years ago to become a court reporter,” said Marla Faith Knox, RPR, an official court reporter from Phoenix, Ariz., who earned her CRR in May 2018.

“This journey has brought me wonderful friendships with colleagues around the country. I have been able to help countless litigants, judges, and attorneys along the way, as well as the hard-of-hearing community. Being a member of NCRA is incredibly rewarding as they are advocates for a profession that has continually provided for me and my family,” Knox added.

To be recognized as a CRR, candidates must hold the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification and have passed, with high accuracy, tests that include equipment set-up, accurate realtime writing, and prove they hold a thorough knowledge of realtime technology.

The CRC certification acknowledges proficiency in language skills and in realtime writing in the broadcast and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) environments. It was implemented in August 2015 to provide NCRA members with a higher level of captioning training and the resources they need to transition to providing captioning services. The certification reflects the combined training of the previous certifications Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) and Certified CART Provider (CCP). The CRC certification was developed to increase realtime proficiency and certify more individuals in providing realtime services. CRCs are highly sought after because of their expertise in this very specific field of reporting.

Greta Bourgeois

Greta Bourgeois, from Nashville, Tenn., has worked as a captioner for six years and earned her CRC in January. She is currently a freelance captioner and CART provider for three firms.

“I attended my first NCRA national convention in 2018, and being around so many talented professionals inspired me to pursue this certification. I know having my CRC will help me achieve my career goals,” Bourgeois said.

Laura Axelsen, RPR, CRR, from Vacaville, Calif., also earned her CRC in January. She has worked as a court reporter for 35 years and currently works as a freelance court reporter, a broadcast captioner, a CART provider, and a certified life coach.

“I love my career and never want to stop. Striving for these and other certifications keeps my relationship with my career fun and makes me a better professional after all,” Axelsen said.

To be recognized as a CRC, candidates must successfully complete a captioning workshop provided by NCRA and a skills exam that is a realtime dictation of 180 words per minute on literary matter.

For more information about earning your CRR or CRC or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

2019 NCRA Convention & Expo speakers

The following reporters and captioners will be speaking as part of the student track at the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo. The event will run Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

Read the session descriptions here.

Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, CSR, FCRR

Jo Ann Bryce has been a reporter for more than 42 years. She is currently an official reporter for the Northern District of California San Francisco Federal Court. Bryce is a five-time National Realtime Champion, and at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo in San Francisco, she won both the National Speed and Realtime Contests. In total, she has five gold medals.

Amie R. First

Amie R. First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE

Amie R. First, Realtime Systems Administrator, has been passionate about court reporting since starting school.  She freelanced for several years and then caught the captioning bug working as a CART Provider at Kent State University in Ohio for a decade (and getting a pretty good education).  She was also a broadcast captioner for five years covering news, sports, webinars, earning calls, in addition to providing large-screen CART for seminars and graduation ceremonies. 

Nine years ago, she took her realtime skills to Orlando, Fla., when she accepted a federal official position in the Middle District of Florida where she has covered many realtime/daily trials. In Florida, she found the love of her life, Shane, and is getting married this fall in her hometown Minerva, Ohio.

First has served on the board of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and is a recipient of the association’s Martin Fincun and Diplomat awards. She has served on several committees for OCRA and NCRA in addition to mentoring students and new professionals. 

Mike Hensley

Michael Hensley, RDR

Mike Hensley is a new reporter who is raising the bar for what new professionals can achieve. In just three years of court reporting, he is already a certified RDR. He also holds a position on the board of directors for the California Court Reporters Association and serves as chair of NCRA’s New Professionals Advisory Committee. As a freelance deposition reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hensley handles highly technical patent cases as well as complex medical and pharmaceutical subject matter. He does all this while providing realtime to clients and lightning-fast turnaround on final transcripts. His high energy and enthusiasm fuel his desire to help others succeed and achieve their full potential as court reporters.

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag has been reporting nearly 40 years as an official, freelancer, firm owner, and occasional CART provider and has been a member of NCRA for the entirety. She has given countless seminars for reporters, students, vendors, and educators and holds NCRA’s highest credentials. She has served in multiple committee positions and numerous state and national leadership positions, including as president of NCRA. She became a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters in 2001.

Debbie Kriegshauser

Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR

Debbie Kriegshauser is currently a federal official reporter with the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Mo. She has been a reporter since 1980 and has worked in all phases of the reporting profession. She also has served on numerous national and state committees, including her current service on the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee.

Saba McKinley

Saba McKinley, RPR, CRI, CSR

Saba McKinley has been reporting since 1991 as an official and court reporter pro tem. In 2010, she included CART captioning as part of her professional services.  McKinley served on the California Court Reporters Board (CCRA) of Directors from 2013-2015 and currently serves on both the CCRA and the NCRA’s Captioning committees.

She is on the speaker rosters for both CCRA and NCRA and loves talking to students about the court reporting industry. 

After attending CCRA’s Boot Camp, McKinley was inspired to begin offering both onsite and off-site trainings on the essentials necessary to provide effective CART captioning services. 

Phoebe Moorhead

Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR

Phoebe Moorhead is a freelance court reporter and is currently president of the Utah Court Reporters Association.

Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC,

Alan Peacock has more than 30 years’ experience in the court reporting, CART, and CART Captioning fields. He lives in Mobile, Ala.

Lindsay Stoker

Lindsay Stoker, RPR, CRC

Lindsay Stoker is a freelance captioner with more than 11 years of experience. Her specialties include remote captioning and broadcast work. She travels frequently to caption conferences, often with thousands in attendance. She lives in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband, Brandon, and her four sons.

Jeffrey Weigl

Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRS(A)

Now in his 13th year in the industry, Jeffrey Weigl is the president of WizCap Realtime Reporting Inc., and splits his time between legal reporting, on-site captioning, and everything that comes with running a boutique firm. Weigl’s passion for speed building and shorthand theory refinement has been highlighted by two NCRA Speed Contest wins along with multiple Realtime Contest medals.

Darlene Williams

Darlene Williams, RPR, CMRS

Darlene Williams has been a freelance reporter since 1985. Her career has taken her around the country to work all matters of litigation, including medical malpractice, intellectual property, construction, and the like. In her present position with Planet Depos, she acts as a mentor to students of the Planet Institute program, teaching them how to prepare transcripts and helping to bridge the gap between graduation from reporting school to taking their first job.

Doug Zweizig

Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, FCCR

A 1989 graduate of Central Pennsylvania Business School (now Central Pennsylvania College), Doug Zweizig earned his associate degree and moved to Philadelphia, Pa., from a small town in 1989, where he began work as a freelance court reporter. In 2001 Zweizig began as an official court reporter in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. After many rewarding years there, in 2014, he accepted a position in the U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland, where he’s currently working. He is a two-time NCRA Realtime Contest Champion, has placed third overall four times, second overall once, and third overall in his very first speed contest. He has 17 medals in both realtime and speed: seven gold, four silver, six bronze.

Read session descriptions here

Find full event schedule here

Register here

2019 NCRA Convention & Expo Student Track Sessions

Read the presenter bios here.

Check out this year’s NCRA Convention & Expo student sessions. We bring back a couple of old favorites and two new sessions. Students also get a chance to kick off the weekend with a students-only breakfast where they can get an overview of the convention and make connections with other students. Don’t miss the Meet and Greet with the NCRA Board of Directors.

Steno Speed Dating

As the seminar’s name implies, it will consist of 10 stellar reporters sitting with a small group of students for 10-minute long “speed dates.” The students will have 10 minutes to ask their questions before switching off to the next reporter for their next “date.”

Presenters:  Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, CSR, FCRR;  Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE; Mike Hensley, RDR; Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR; Saba McKinley, RPR, CRI, CSR; Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI; Kelly Shainline, RPR, CRR; Lindsey Stoker, RPR, CRC; Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, CSR(A); and Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, FCRR.


You Want Me to Do What? I Didn’t Learn That in School….

Court reporting is more than putting words on a page.  In this seminar you will learn some common transcript preparation pitfalls young reporters encounter and how to avoid them.  The presenter will share some tricks of the trade, as well as helpful research tools and how to use them.  Come for the information but stay for the “goodies.”

Presenter:  Darlene Williams, RPR, CMRS

Darlene Williams

Good Reporter/Bad Reporter

This audience-participation skit touches on professional etiquette and mannerisms in conducting oneself at work. Learn the tools of the trade to win over clientele for freelance work or get hired for overflow work in a judicial proceeding. Why some people “have it” and others just simply don’t. Be prepared to laugh!

Presenters: Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR


Student Jeopardy

A fun and interactive “Jeopardy” game that will cover such topics as: the history of court reporting, spelling, homonyms/synonyms, vocabulary, and courtroom procedures. Students will learn some of the trickier English and grammar rules that we encounter every day and will be quizzed on the types of questions found on the RPR Written Knowledge Test. Be on the team who answers the most questions correctly and win a prize!

Presenters: Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR, and Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR

Find full event schedule here

Register here

Congratulations to the Student Speed Contest Winners

Madalyn Massey
Kelly Madden
Rachel Marr

Schools across the country once again participated in this year’s NCRA student speed contest. The contest was held in celebration of 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and gave students the chance to test their speed skills on Literary and Q&A tests. Madalyn Massey, of Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa, was awarded first prize. Kelly Madden, of Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Fla., was awarded second prize, and Rachel Marr of the Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning, Tampa, Fla., was awarded third prize.

“I first got interested in the Realtime Reporting program because of a family friend, who is now my wonderful mentor,” said Massey. “It also became a huge motivation for me to get a job where I would be sitting due to an ankle injury I received in high school. I really need a job where I am stationary, and I became even more interested in the career field after seeing firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and passion involved in the court reporting field.”

Massey is set to graduate in December.

Second place winner Madden is returning to court reporting after an 18-year hiatus. A graduate of Sheridan Vocational Technical Institute, Hollywood, Fla., she is back at Atlantic Technical to hone her skills and get to back to the career she loved so much.

Marr is a mother of three who got into court reporting by chance. “I had to leave my radiology program when I was pregnant and while I was on my leave, I talked to an attorney who said that if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would be a court reporter. That piqued my interest, so I started looking into what exactly that detailed [in terms of] school, money, certifications etc.” 

The Mardi Gras-themed contest, sponsored by NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, was open to students in any court reporting program, at any speed level. Ninety-three students from 10 schools took the tests. One Literary and one Q&A test were given, and each consisted of five minutes of dictation at a speed that each student was either currently working on or had just passed.

In order to be eligible to win a prize, students must have passed the test with at least 96 percent accuracy. The tests, written by Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, were designed so that the speed could be adjusted to fit the student’s speed.

A total of 25 students passed at least one test. Three of those who passed were chosen at random to receive the winners’ beads. As the gold bead, or first prize winner, Massey received an RPR Study Guide ($125 value). Madden, the purple bead, or second prize winner, was awarded the choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one complimentary leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value). The winner of the green beads, Marr, won a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Many thanks to Kriegshauser for her hard work writing the speed tests and preparing the other testing materials. The contest would not have been possible without her.

NCRA would like to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions. Below are the names of all the students who participated in this year’s contest. Students marked with an asterisk passed the test with 96 percent accuracy or higher.

Atlantic Technical College

Coconut Creek, Fla.

Kelly Madden*          

Victor Laznik 

Amber King   

Lynn Corbet   

Brown College of Court Reporting

Atlanta, Ga.

Parker Burton

David Gee      

Shirley Johnson          

DeLeon Little

Chris Tomko  

College of Court Reporting

Valparaiso, Ind.

Kerri Huff      

Natasha Wentzel        

Patricia Lopez*          

Des Moines Area Community College

Newton, Iowa

Madelyn Schmidt*    

Madison Rowland     

Madalyn Massey*      

Green River College

Auburn, Wash.

Ashley Dixon*           

Spencer Holesinsky   

Justin Choi     

Sarah Webb   

Mariah Banta*

Alexandra Fleming    

Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning

Tampa, Fla.

Michele Buono*

Rachel Marr*

Casey Venoitte*

Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting

Houston, Texas

Christy Nowotny       

Pearl Gonzalez           

Cayley Rodrigue        

Macomb Community College

Clinton Township, Mich.

Allison Boggess         

Jennifer Mitrevski      

LaTasha Lindsey       

Allison Grawburg      

Carla Stark     

Kim Champagne        

Jackie Felker  

Robin Fisette  

Dorothy Strong          

Robert Ludkiig          

Kelly Mason  

Alicia Urbinati           

NAIT

Edmonton, AB Canada       

Andriana Bilous

Angeline Jacobsen

Caprice Albert

Elizabeth Fossen

Emily Ferdinand

Ericah Crumback

Jasmine Hallis

Jennifer Friesen

Jodie Kostiw

Joseph Nudelman

Julia Desrosiers

Katherine Gallin

Kayla Velthuis-Kroeze

Kelcy Sherbank

Kristina Zeller

Krystal Truong

Lucie Titley

Marie Foreman

Meagan Gibson

Michael Thomas

Robin Tarnowetzki

Roxanna Doctor

Sara Pelletier

Tyler Hopkins

Abby Robinson

Amanda Hebb

Ariana McCalla*

Bradley Morrison

Julie Layton*

Lora Zabiran

McKaya Baril*

Michelle Stevens

Netannys Turner-Wiens

Presley Thomson

Sarah Pfau

Shauna Lagore*

Stephanie Jabbour

Yazda Khaled

Plaza College

Forest Hills, N.Y.

Paula Mullen*

Taylor Mascari*

Bianna Lewis*           

Letizia Yemma*        

Michelle Paluszek*    

Elisabeth Dempsey*  

Dishawn Williams*    

Maia Morgan*

Alexandra Bourekas*

Rachel Salatino*        

Emily Nicholson*      

Tikiya Etchison*        

Christina Penna          

Shane Perry    

Pedro Santiago           

Cecilia Miranda

Queens School looks to end nationwide court stenographer shortage

New York CBSlocal.com posted an article on May 16 that quotes NCRA member Karen Santucci, CRI, director of Plaza College’s court reporting program, about the school’s efforts to help end the nationwide court reporter shortage.

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NCRA member participates in fifth graders Law Day

On May 15, The Frontier and Holt County Independent posted a story about a Law Day that was held for local fifth graders in which NCRA member Kami Hooey, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Atkinson, Neb.,  participated.

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