NCRA member Donna Cascio wins Angels drawing

Donna Cascio

NCRA member Donna Cascio, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, a retired official court reporter from Somerset, Pa., was the lucky winner of the 2019 NCRF Angels drawing for a weeklong stay in one of three luxury resorts in Mexico.

“When B.J. Shorak and April Weiner from the Foundation contacted me, I just couldn’t believe it,” Cascio said. “I was sent the Facebook Live link and watched the video and saw B.J. read my name – ‘Donna Cascio from Pennsylvania!’ — I could tell she was excited for me and it really felt good. B.J. has been a jewel and a treasure for the Foundation. When you have someone as dedicated, as persuasive, and as sweet as she is carrying the message of support for students, a person just can’t say no,” she added.

Cascio said she has been in touch with Denise Paternoster, RPR, who donated the weeklong stay at the choice of one of three Mexican resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, or Nuevo Vallarta, to learn more about the properties and schedule her trip. Paternoster, an official court reporter from New York, N.Y., is also an Angel donor and serves on NCRF’s Angels Committee.

Cascio, who retired in March after 45 years as an official court reporter, said she and her husband have long been supporters of NCRF and its programs but noted that becoming a 2019 Angel donor marked just their second time at that level.

“I have been encouraged to support NCRF by my association and friendship with wonderful veteran reporters who make such support a priority in their lives — people such as Tiva Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, and Jan Hamilton, RDR, both former NCRF Chairs; Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR; Kathy DiLorenzo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; Amy Bowlen, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; and Lisa Nagy-Baker, FAPR, RDR, CRR,” Cascio said.

“My friendships with the teaching staff at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh — Mary Beth Johnson, CRI; Val Cox, CRI; and Barbara Lightcap, RDR, CRI — convey to me the support necessary for reporting students. We all understand the importance of our profession and do what we can to support reporter education and students,” Cascio added. “After 45 years as an official reporter, this trip will be a wonderful way to celebrate retirement — choosing a time unconstrained by a court schedule.”

The Angels Program continues to be the most impactful component of the National Court Reporters Foundation’s annual campaign, as it supports four key initiatives that are advancing the court reporting and captioning professions:

2018 Speed Contest winner Sherry Bryant shares her story

Sherry Bryant

NCRA member Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., won the 2018 National Speed Contest held during the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo from Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La. This is a second win for Bryant, who also took home top honors in the 2012 National Speed Contest.

In the 2018 Speed Contest, Bryant placed first in the literary leg with a 99.54 percent accuracy rate, second in the legal opinion leg with a 98.78 percent accuracy rate, and second in the Q&A leg with a 95.50 percent accuracy rate, to win overall with a 97.94 percent accuracy rate.

Bryant also competed in the 2018 Realtime Contest and placed fouth overall with a 98.37 percent accuracy rate.

The JCR Weekly recently reached out to her to find out more about what motivates her, how she prepares to compete, and how she learned about court reporting as a career.

JCR | What area of the profession do you work?
BRYANT | I work for the U.S. House of Representatives on the committee side. I started in July 2016 and have been a reporter since 1981.

JCR | How did you learn about the profession?
BRYANT | My mother, Virginia Loria, was working as a federal official reporter in Harrisburg, Pa., at the time, having transitioned to the machine after being a pen writer most of her career. My stepfather, George Geiger, was an official reporter at Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. He gave me a steno machine and theory book. I worked as a freelancer for the family firm, Geiger & Loria Reporting Service, now Geiger Loria Filius McLucas, until I became a federal official in the Eastern District of New York in October 2013.

JCR | How many national contests have you participated in?
BRYANT | I first entered the National Speed Contest in 1997. Then beginning in 2000, I competed yearly until 2007.  I also entered in 2012, 2015, and 2018.  I also compete in the Realtime Contest any time I enter the Speed Contest.

JCR | What motivates you to compete?
BRYANT | I really enjoy competing in both contests, I think because it is such a big challenge; and I love that about court reporting in general.

JCR | How did it feel to win overall this year?
BRYANT | It felt absolutely amazing to win this year! I have always been fortunate to qualify in the Speed Contests and was worried this would be my first time not to. It was a well-founded worry since my Q&A was borderline, so it felt even better since it was so surprising. I would like to continue competing in both contests.

JCR | What advice would you give someone who is considering competing at the national level?
BRYANT | The only advice I have is to practice as much as possible with hard material.

JCR | How far in advance do you begin to practice for the national contests?
BRYANT | I begin practicing two to three months in advance of a contest.

JCR | What is your practice routine to prep for these contests?
BRYANT | I aim for an hour a day. I used to do 30 minutes a day until the last three contests. I wrote 650 pages of practice material in the four days before this last contest.

JCR | Do you compete at the state level as well?
BRYANT | I have also competed in the past in the Pennsylvania Realtime Cup, beginning in 2000.

NCRA member earns grant to teach workshops

Kathy Cortopassi

NCRA member Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, a captioner, court reporter, and firm owner from Chester, S.C., recently received a $500 marketing grant from her local chamber of commerce, Small Business Development Center, and the local technical college. The grant will fund a series of workshops to introduce the public to the court reporting and captioning professions using the NCRA A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program.

Cortopassi’s firm, Voice to Print Captioning, was one of three local firms to win a $500 grant. To be eligible to apply for the funding, Cortopassi participated in a special series entitled “Strengthening Your Business Foundation,” a program created by the Small Business Development Center based at Winthrop University, York Technical College Chester Center, and the Chester County Chamber of Commerce. She and a number of other local business owners committed to attending evening classes that spanned five months and that covered topics such as market research, human resources best practices, marketing, accounting, and financing one’s business. The courses were taught by experts in their related fields. In addition to earning a certificate of completion of the course, participants that completed the series were able to apply for one of three grants offered.

Cortopassi cited in her grant application that there is a growing need for professionals in the court reporting and captioning fields and that she would use the grant money to help support workshops in the area to recruit potential students to the career.

“Through this grant, we can have a county-wide impact. I can create a buzz about the profession and the need for more professionals by using this money,” said Cortopassi, who was a court reporter for 10 years before becoming a captioner some 25 years ago. She re-entered the freelance court reporting field a year ago. Cortopassi said she became involved with the local chamber of commerce because it was a good way to meet people in the business community.

“I recently pitched the idea of offering court reporting and captioning workshops to the economic development director of our city, and he would very much like me to open a school. We plan to start with offering an NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program first,” she added.

Cortopassi said that her firm, Voice to Print Captioning, is partnering with Every Word, Inc., a South Carolina-based court reporting firm, to host a meet-and-greet event with prospective reporting students on Sept. 29 in Rock Hill, S.C. Part of the grant’s marketing funds will be used to attract students to the event so they can meet court reporters from around the state and ask questions about the profession and be encouraged to join the NCRA A to Z program.

In addition, Every Word’s reporters are being encouraged to bring the steno machines they no longer use to donate to the NCRA A to Z Program, Cortopassi noted.

For more information about the meet-and-greet or to donate an unused machine to the program, please contact Kathy Cortopassi at or at 866-523-5359.

Former NCRA Member Richard M. Metschl passes away

The Buffalo News reported on Aug. 19 that former NCRA member Richard M. Metschl, founder of Metschl Court Reporting, passed away in Buffalo, N.Y.

Read more.

NCRA Secretary-Treasurer in the news 

Utah Policy posted an Aug. 12 press release issued by NCRA that announced that Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Salt Lake City, Utah, was installed as 2018-2019 Secretary-Treasurer during the Association’s Convention & Expo held in New Orleans, La., Aug. 2-5.

Read more.

Local court reporter earns national certification

The Knoxville Daily posted a press release on Aug. 20 issued by NCRA announcing that member Terri S. Grandchamp from Knoxville, Tenn., has earned the nationally recognized Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) certification.

Read more.

UPDATE: Parliamentary review of voting tally results in additional changes to Bylaws

NCRA members voted on 12 amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws following the Annual Business Meeting on Aug. 2, 2018, which occurred in conjunction with the NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. A question arose on the NCRA state leaders listserve on how abstention votes were counted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised Edition, so a parliamentary review was requested. Upon parliamentary confirmation of the rule/method for counting abstention votes, all amendments except Amendment 11, the name change, are now deemed to have passed. Going forward, NCRA has put in place a policy to have voting results verified by our parliamentarian before being announced to our membership.

Per our Constitution & Bylaws, Article IX, Section 5b, “The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the official parliamentary guide for all business sessions when they are not in conflict with this Constitution and Bylaws or rules adopted by the Association during the annual business meeting or by the Board of Directors.” Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Page 415, “ignore blank ballots and other ballots that indicate no preference, treating them as abstentions” and “all ballots that indicate a preference – provided they have been cast by persons entitled to vote – are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing.”

To pass, Bylaws amendments must receive at least two-thirds (66.7%) affirmation by the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The numbers below reflect the percentages voting for each amendment:

NumberNamePass/FailedPercentage Voted For
1Voting for Officers and Board of DirectorsPassed (previously reported as failed)71.9%
2Voting on Bylaws AmendmentsPassed82.0%
3Clarification of electoral processPassed83.6%
4Elections when more than two candidates are running for the same positionPassed81.5%
5Number of Directors on the BoardPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
6Clarification of the timing of terms of officePassed84.8%
7Elimination of requirement to include a consumer or public member as part of the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR)Passed (previously reported as failed)72.9%
8Clarification of electronic mail votingPassed83.5%
9Removal of reference of electronic voting in a business meetingPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
10Definition of Voting MembersPassed84.7%
11Name changeFailed47.3%
12Meeting referencePassed92.3%

During the Annual Business Meeting, Keith Lemons and Yolanda Walton were elected by majority vote to fill unoccupied spaces on the Board of Directors resulting from the promotion of two Directors to Officer positions on the Board.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments and contested Board of Directors elections. The Bylaws amendments ranged from minor, including cleaning up some repetitive language, to more substantial, such as streamlining the voting procedures for amendments and elections. Eligible voting members participated through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period. View all voting results.

Hennigan honored with NCRA 2018 CASE Award of Excellence

Chris Willette and Robyn M. Hennigan

NCRA member Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, an instructor at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, was named 2018 Educator of the Year during a special awards luncheon at NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA’s CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Award of Excellence recognizes the important role student education plays in the court reporting profession and honors educators for their dedication and outstanding achievement and leadership. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member.

“Receiving the CASE Award of Excellence sincerely touches my heart and brings me great joy because it means that my work has positively enriched the lives of others, helping them to succeed; and for that, I am eternally grateful,” Hennigan said. “Professionally, I feel this award certainly reaches the pinnacle; and I hope to remain at this peak for quite some time, always striving for excellence to help others achieve greatness.”

Hennigan, who holds the nationally-recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), has been in the court reporting profession for 29 years and has served as the director and only full-time faculty member in Clark State’s court reporting program for the past 16 years. She recently worked in conjunction with the faculty at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio, to create a shared degree program between the two schools. She also owns and operates a scoping and proofreading business serving the reporting profession.

At the national level, Hennigan has served as a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, she has also served as a test grader for NCRA and has attended the Association’s Legislative Boot Camp and many of NCRA’s educational events, including the Annual Convention & Expo. She currently serves on several of NCRA’s committees.

Hennigan is also a member of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and she is a past member of its Board of Directors. In 2010, she was recognized by the state association as its Outstanding Associate Member.

Hennigan and her husband, Eric, have two children and four grandchildren.

2018 Speed Contest Results


Place   Percentage
1 Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR 97.94%
2 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 97.18%
3 Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.10%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Sherry Bryant 5 99.545%
2 Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC 6 99.455%
3 Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC 12 98.909%
4 Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CRC 14 98.727%
5 Patricia Nilsen 17 98.455%
6 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC 20 98.182%
7 Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC 24 97.818%
8 Karen Tyler 26 97.636%
9 Allison Hall, RMR, CRR 31 97.182%
10 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 34 96.909%
11 Ronald Cook, RDR, CRR, CRC 36 96.727%
11 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC 36 96.727%
12 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CRC 39 96.455%
13 Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 46 95.818%
13 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 46 95.818%
14 Sabrina Lewis, RDR, CRR 53 95.182%
15 Darlene Fuller, RMR, CRR 54 95.091%
15 Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC 54 95.091%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia 12 98.957%
2 Sherry Bryant 14 98.783%
3 John Wissenbach 18 98.435%
4 Karen Tyler 22 98.087%
4 Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR 22 98.087%
5 Patricia Nilsen 28 97.565%
6 Dee Boenau 30 97.391%
7 Traci Mertens 35 96.957%
8 Donna Urlaub 43 96.261%
9 Kathy Cortopassi 55 95.217%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Karen Tyler 62 95.571%
2 Sherry Bryant 63 95.500%
2 Patricia Nilsen 63 95.500%
3 Rich Germosen 66 95.286%

* Contest results are preliminary.

2018 Realtime Contest Results


Place   Percentage
1 Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR 99.245%
2 Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR 98.933%
3 Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CRC 98.522%
4 Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR 98.372%
5 Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC 98.045%
6 Ron Cook, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.872%
7 Lance Boardman, RPR, CRR 97.678%
8 Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.395%
9 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC 96.572%
10 Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR 95.850%
11 Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC 95.745%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Dee Boenau 8 99.200%
1 Mark Kislingbury 8 99.200%
1 Douglas Zweizig 8 99.200%
2 Ron Cook 15 98.500%
3 Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 18 98.200%
3 Julianne LaBadia 18 98.200%
4 Sherry Bryant 21 97.900%
5 John Wissenbach 25 97.500%
6 Karla Ray, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 28 97.200%
7 Sheri Smargon 29 97.100%
8 Lance Boardman 34 96.600%
9 Donna Karoscik 38 96.200%
10 Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR 43 95.700%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Mark Kislingbury 8 99.289%
2 Sherry Bryant 13 98.844%
2 Julianne LaBadia 13 98.844%
3 Lance Boardman 14 98.756%
4 Doug Zweizig 15 98.667%
5 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 23 97.956%
6 Sheri Smargon 26 97.689%
7 Ron Cook 31 97.244%
8 Dee Boenau 35 96.889%
9 Laura Landerman, RMR, CRR 40 96.444%
9 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 40 96.444%
10 Melanie Wilkins, RMR, CRR 42 96.267%
11 Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC 44 96.089%
11 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 44 96.089%
12 Patrick Mahon 45 96.000%
13 Katy Zamora, RMR, CRR 47 95.822%
14 John Wissenbach 49 95.644%
15 Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC 50 95.556%
16 Donna Karoscik 53 95.289%
17 Elizabeth Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 54 95.200%
18 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC 56 95.022%
19 Allison Hall, RMR, CRR 57 95.000%
19 Kathryn Sweeney, RMR, CRR 57 95.000%

* Contest results are preliminary.