NCRA Retired Member Leroy James Peterson passes

The Oskaloosa News reported on Sept. 4 that NCRA Lifetime Member Leroy James Peterson of Oskaloosa, Iowa, passed away on Aug. 30.

Read more.

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 contests draw attention to court reporting, captioning professions

Sherry Bryant and Mark Kislingbury

New Orleans media outlets interviewed several NCRA members who competed in the NCRA Speed Contest and NCRA Realtime Contest during the NCRA Convention & Expo held there earlier this month.

NCRA member and Guinness world record holder Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR, from Houston, Texas, was featured in a segment on ABC affiliate WGNO that aired Aug. 8. The interview took place during NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo held in New Orleans Aug. 2-5, where Kislingbury won the National Realtime Contest.

Erminia Uviedo and Donna Karoscik

NCRA members Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, were interviewed by New Orleans station WWLTV Channel 4 about the court reporting and captioning professions and what it’s like to compete in the National Realtime Contest.

Retired NCRA member Charlene Nicholas passes

Retired lifetime member of NCRA Charlene E. Nicholas, RPR (Ret.), passed away on July 25. She as a court reporter for the Dayton, Ohio, Municipal Courts before becoming a freelance court reporter and establishing her own company.

Read more.

How to write super fast under stress

A blog posted on Aug. 2, by Kramm Court Reporting, addresses how the points made in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Uncomfortable Practice Habits of a Champion,” about Francesco Molinari’s win at the British Open Golf Championship, can be applied to court reporters and court reporting students.

Read more.

In Memoriam: Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams passed away on June 3, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Freida was an accomplished court reporter, dancer, and philanthropist. One of her many philanthropic passions was giving back to the court reporting profession, including as an Angel for the past 12 years, and as a member of NCRF’s Legacy Society.

To properly pay tribute to Freida, we asked two of her closest friends, Paula Laws and Tommy Crites, to share some thoughts about their dear friend.

Paula Laws | Freida, was a self-starter, taught at a very young age to be a progressive, independent business woman. She was raised in her mother’s court reporting business, and when she took over the business, raised it to even greater heights. She was also taught how very important it is to give back to the profession, which she did as President of FCRA and STAR. She also served on many committees. What she should be remembered for is her willingness to open her wallet (or raise her AMEX card) whenever there was a need in the profession. She always gave generously. Freida was unique, always commanding attention when she entered a room.  She will be greatly missed.

Tommy Crites | I want to start off by saying, the older we get, the more one realizes it’s not what happens, but how you deal with it. And I keep telling myself, time will ease the pain. For every life that fades, something beautiful remains.

The last two months of Freida’s life I had the pleasure serving as Frieda’s “houseboy” 24/7 overseeing Freida and all the many nurses. For all to know, the journey was sweet, thanks to Freida’s courage, and all the many prayers, cards, messages, flowers and visitors from all over the country.

I think Freida would want everyone to not be afraid to die. In those last six weeks at her beautiful home on Lake Hollingsworth, she continued each week to have her hair done, facials, her manis and pedis, her massages, all with a bottle of champagne. We had a champagne garden party that Paula Laws organized; the derby party with hats and champagne; a Royal Wedding Day which started for us at 5:30 a.m. with hats and champagne; a Mother’s Day turkey dinner with champagne, actually a week early, as we lost all track of time.  All the while, through the busy weeks, dozens of visitors coming to say goodbye, and Freida tending each day to unfinished business, such as personally arranging for her High Mass and most important to her planning the party following the service at the Huntington Hills Country Club with lots of decorations, flowers, food, champagne, and a SW champagne glass for every guest to take home.

A typical Tuesday: changing of the nurses at 7:00 a.m.; the yard boys would arrive at 8:00 a.m.; LoLee Duncan, the angel who for over 20 years took care of the upkeep of the lake house and beach house, would arrive by 9:00 a.m.; Vivian, her housekeeper would arrive before 10:00 a.m., as would the dog groomer and Cora Hutson, her bookkeeper of over ten years; and there was the army of eight lake cleaners that would come. And the flowers and food would be arriving all day, and the boy who sprayed her beautiful roses would find his way in, as did the gator control guy. Freida in control all the while on her walkie-talkie. And I was busy fixing her beautiful food trays.

With the changing of the nurses at 7:00 p.m., everyone gone, Freida and I would watch a movie, go through her cards, and look through boxes and boxes of pictures going back 70 years, and laughing all the while. She and I never shared tears together, only laughter.

For over five decades much has been written about Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Rosie and Freida, regarding their many contributions to the court reporting profession, their loyal support to FCRA, NCRA, NCRF, NNRC, and many other organizations, and we all know about their many awards and accomplishments, so let me share a bit more.

What I think most people are not aware, in the early 50s Freida began a dancing career at the Betsye Kay Dancing School, and the last program I found was the 25th Annual Dance Review in May of 1978 where Freida was still performing. She was a very accomplished flamenco dancer as well in the late 50s and early 60s. Freida also went to modeling school and had a short history as a model.

Freida also had a love for running, and made many long-distance runs across the country.  And the only complaint and concern the last two months, “I don’t understand why I can’t walk or use my legs.”  But she was blessed with no physical pain until the last 72 hours, and her mind was sharp until we had to administer the painkillers.

I hope everyone will remember Freida as The Lady in Red, with the Janis Joplin stomp, a marvel of life, a heart of gold, feisty, funny, a true angel, was almost always right and made sure everyone else knew it, and all who knew her will never forget how beautiful she was, that beautiful smile and that glint in her eyes. On behalf of Freida, I wish to thank everyone for your many prayers, cards, flowers and kind words.

Freida’s legacy should be that she stayed on course…from the beginning to the end, because she had a passion for everything that she believed in.

And Freida would like these words, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”  Cheers to you, Freida.

College of Court Reporting receives maximum initial grant of accreditation


Valparaiso, Indiana, July 17, 2018 – On June 29, 2018, College of Court Reporting (CCR) was granted a three-year grant of accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), the maximum available DEAC offers for new grants of accreditation.  According to DEAC:

Accreditation is a reliable indicator of the value and quality of the distance education that an institution offers. In receiving this initial grant of accreditation, CCR has demonstrated its commitment to educational standards and ethical business practices that assure quality, accountability, and improvement in higher education

Although CCR was already accredited through 2019 with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), ACICS lost its federal recognition on Dec. 12, 2016.  CCR promptly applied for provisional certification through the Program Participation Agreement (PPA) issued by the U.S. Department of Education and was granted that certification on December 23, 2016.  This gave CCR time to find a new accreditor.  CCR worked tirelessly to have an active application for accreditation in process with DEAC, which was accepted in the summer of 2017.  CCR worked on modifying policies and procedures to meet or exceed DEAC requirements over the next nine months in preparation for a formal evaluation visit by DEAC.  On April 3, 2018, expert evaluators visited the CCR campus located in Valparaiso, Indiana, to interview administrators, faculty, and students as well as perform a comprehensive audit and assessment of CCR.  The confirmation of the grant of accreditation came almost three months later.

DEAC is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1926 that operates as an institutional accreditor of distance education institutions. Accreditation by DEAC covers all distance education activities within an institution, and it provides accreditation from the secondary school level through professional doctoral degree-granting institutions.  DEAC grants accreditation to institutions for a specific period of time, prior to the expiration of which the institution may reapply and again be evaluated. Grants of accreditation vary in length.  DEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  The current DEAC Directory of Accredited Institutions is listed on

This grant of accreditation is the culmination of almost two years’ worth of effort by all CCR administration and staff in making sure CCR’s doors remained open even when others thought they would close.  Moreover, in the face of uncertainty and dwindling hope for accreditation of private, post-secondary institutions, CCR continued to provide a top-notch court reporting education.  In fact, 23 students graduated during the last year, and CCR could not be more proud of their accomplishments.  Those students persevered in the face of challenges and obstacles in order to join a profession in dire need of keepers of the record.  Similarly, CCR met with challenges along the way, but its passion, belief in the importance of accreditation, and faith in its hard-working and dedicated student body propelled the school forward with a maximum initial grant of accreditation as its reward.

The College of Court Reporting has an online program that offers students an associates of applied science degree in court reporting.  For more information, contact our Director of Admissions, Nicky Rodriquez, at 866-294-3974 ext. 222 or


An unforgettable Convention experience

What will you remember the most about this year’s Convention & Expo? Members of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee continue the conversation about their experiences at past Conventions. What were the most memorable moments? What or who made the most impact on them? Read their stories here, and next year you’ll be sharing your own stories…

Len Sperling

Whitney Berndt

A young woman and a young man stand next to each other smiling

Shaunise Day (left)

Gayl Hardeman

portrait of the author

Kay Moody

Callie Sajdera

Members of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, Callie Sajdera, a student at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., Gayl Hardeman, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, an instructor at Hardeman School (Tampa, Fla.), Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, an instructor at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., Len Sperling, CRI, an instructor at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Alberta, Canada, Whitney Berndt, a student at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., and Shaunise Day, a student at West Valley College in Oakland, Calif., offer their thoughts and advice for attending Convention.

JCR | What has been one of the best seminars or workshops you have ever attended at an NCRA Convention?

Callie | The best seminar I went to was with Margie Wakeman Wells at the Convention in Chicago, Ill. I was just out of Theory and learning the ropes of English and grammar. This was beneficial to me as a student who was just starting out, and she made it a lot of fun!

Gayl | Ed Varallo’s session on Notereading in 1973 in Seattle, Wash. I ended up training all of our typists and wrote a textbook on the subject two years later: Notereading: Twelve Weeks to a Career, as Gayl Hardeman Knaus (former married name).

Kay | They were all excellent. I always left a Convention “brain dead” with so much information and new ideas. I particularly enjoyed the initial seminars on technology when reporters were first learning about Computer Aided Transcription, CAT. There was always new knowledge or products for reporters, and there was so much to learn! I realized many years ago — we never stop learning — never!

Len | I remember attending a workshop on broadcast captioning. The session showed the importance of realtime in general, and the significant impact it would have on our industry’s future.

Whitney | I think my favorite seminar last year was the steno speed dating. It gave me such insight into all the amazing opportunities this career has to offer. I never knew some of those career paths existed.

Shaunise | I will never forget the seminar held in San Francisco, Calif., led by Clay Frazier and Kensie Benoit. I will always talk about this session and it should be a staple seminar that we continue to recycle as new students attend NCRA Conventions annually. Kensie and Clay presented on what you don’t normally learn in school. They put together a stellar presentation that focused on the importance of knowing your software, resume building, taxes, getting jobs, social media, and so much more. I hope we can continue to produce sessions that will focus on the steps a new reporter should take when it’s time to step foot in the real world of reporting.


JCR | Did you ever meet anyone at Convention who had a significant impact on your life or your career?

Callie | Yes. I met my mentor at the Chicago Convention two years ago. Her name is Anne Bowline from Casper, Wyo. She was on the Board at the time, and my director, Jennifer Sati, introduced her to me. She has been one of the greatest support systems that I have had throughout school, and she’s set an example for me as a professional and a future mentor.

Gayl | See above. I later married Ed Varallo, and he’s the one who got me interested in CART, which I’ve now done for 26 years.

Kay | Yes, not one, but many had a significant impact on my life and my school. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, many of the schools were owned by women and these brilliant women became my dearest friends. We shared materials, ideas, teaching techniques, visited their schools, etc., and have remained close friends throughout the years. Probably the only name students would recognize today would be my dear friend, Lillian Morson.

Len | There are too many to count. Most of these individuals are mostly educators who I have learned from and who have inspired me. I like to call them friends and feel I could call upon them at any time.

Whitney | At the Convention last summer, I met our current President-Elect, Sue Terry. Sue was so willing to express to me her love of this career and share some of the amazing experiences she has had. She was so sweet and inspired me to work hard to hopefully be given similar, incredible opportunities.

Shaunise | I have established countless relationships that will last a lifetime. I give thanks to NCRA for allowing me to develop these relationships. I remember during the lunch break at my first Convention, I didn’t have any plans for lunch. This was an awkward moment for me. I wasn’t the type at the time to even think about having lunch by myself in a restaurant. I decided I would grab something to eat and go sit in my car for the lunch break. I was so nervous once lunch time approached. Just as I was walking out of the hotel, I received a text from Charisse Kitt (If you are a student reading this, make sure your student badge is showing. Veteran reporters will embrace you once they see that you are a student), and she asked me if I wanted to have lunch with a group of reporters. The joy and happiness from that text made my entire weekend.


Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

Firm owners fill student swag bags

Firm owners are once again answering the call to ensure that students who attend the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. in August, get a little something extra.

Last year, firm owners generously donated special drawstring bags, flash drives, ear buds, USB cables, highlighters, candy, and more. In addition to the exciting experience of attending a national Convention, and the opportunity to network with the top professionals in their field, students walked away with a bag full of Las Vegas swag.

This past February, another request went out to firm owners for donations to fill special bags to give out to students during their orientation at this year’s Convention. The response was very positive and the bags are filling up.

The Student/Teacher Committee would like to thank the following donors who have already volunteered to contribute to this year’s student swag bags:

  • Alaris
  • Benchmark Reporting Agency
  • Doris. O. Wong & Associates, Inc.
  • Hanson Renaissance Reporting & Video
  • Jack W. Hunt & Associates
  • Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE
  • LNS Court Reporting & Legal Video
  • Memory Reporting, Inc.
  • O’Brien & Levine
  • OrangeLegal
  • Planet Depos
  • Rider & Associates, Inc.
  • Schmitt Reporting & Video, Inc.
  • Streski Reporting & Video Service
  • Summit City Reporting
  • U.S. Legal Support
  • West Coast Court Reporting & Video
  • Wood & Randall
  • YOM

More donations are always welcome. For questions, or to donate, contact Ellen Goff.

Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

My secret to passing the RPR

by Celeste Poppe

Celeste Poppe

I started taking the legs of the RPR in November, 2016 and achieved my RPR in April, 2017. I started with the hardest leg first and worked my way down: 225 Testimony, followed by the 200 Jury Charge, then the 180 Literary, and finally the WKT, passing each leg on my first attempt. During this time period, I also took the California CSR, which is 200 wpm, four-voice. Taking some of the legs of the RPR before taking my state CSR was hands down the best decision I made in my testing journey for two reasons. One, I passed the 225 Testimony and the 200 Jury Charge legs before going into the January California CSR, which really boosted my confidence. I remember thinking during the test, “If I can pass a 225, I can pass this.” Two, it helped my nerves because then my state exam was “just another test.”

While practicing for my tests, I only used one method, which was created by my dear friend (and “big sister”) Monyeen Black, Past President of the Deposition Reporters Association of California. We call it Mo’s Speedbuilding Method, MSBM for short.

All you need is Windows Media Player and a desire to reach 200 wpm. Here’s how it works:

  • In Windows Media Player, you are going to adjust the play speed settings. When you open Windows Media Player, right click anywhere in the box, select “Enhancements,” then click “Play Speed Settings.” Adjust the play speed setting to 0.9 to make it 180 wpm.
  • Write the dictation for one minute. Analyze your steno for any briefs you might want to create or have but maybe have forgotten. Write those down in your notebook and work on those during each take.
  • Go back into “Play Speed Settings” and adjust the setting back to 1.0, making it a 200 wpm. Write that SAME 1-minute take again, only now at 200 wpm.
  • Now adjust the speed setting to 1.1 (220 wpm), write; adjust to 1.2 (240 wpm), write; adjust to 1.3 (260 wpm), write; adjust back down to 1.1 (220 wpm) and try to NAIL IT! You want to nail a 220 wpm if your goal speed is 200 wpm.
  • When you are going 240 and 260, drop the punctuation, write slop, and just get something down for everything.

To recap: Take EACH 1-minute increment of a five-minute dictation at 180, 200, 220, 240, 260, and 280. Once you have finished this five times, then do the entire five minutes at 220, a notch above your goal speed. Doing this entire method only takes 35 minutes to complete. The best part about this method is that you can do it with any five-minute dictation and be at any speed in school.

So there you have it! That’s how I passed the RPR. I wholeheartedly believe that this method is so beneficial to building speed and overall improving your writing. Now get out there and go pass some tests!

Celeste attended Bryan University online, and graduated in October, 2016. She received her RPR in April, 2017 and her California CSR in March, 2017. She is currently working for the Los Angeles Superior Court as a floater.