2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks off in just over a week

NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17, kicks off in just over a week, and state associations, individual members, and schools around the country are finalizing their plans to celebrate. From contests to open houses to showcasing realtime at courthouses and at career fairs, the quest is in full swing to raise awareness about the career opportunities available in the court reporting and captioning professions.

Students go for the gold

In celebration of the week, NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test open to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.

All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes. Prizes will include a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value) for the gold medal winner, a choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value) for the silver medal winner, and a $25 Starbucks gift card for the bronze medal winner.

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the Up-to-Speed student newsletter and the JCR. For more information about the rules and registration, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser or Ellen Goff.

Events around the country

To mark this year’s event, the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is hosting its second annual virtual run, which is themed Peace Love Steno. The run is open to all court reporting and captioning runners, walkers, and exercise enthusiasts. Once participants sign up and register, they can plan their 5K walk/run, which can be completed on a treadmill, around their neighborhood, at a local park, or at the office. TCRA asks that all participants post pictures of themselves completing their walk or run on its Facebook page. The cost to register is $25, and those who complete the 5K earn an antique gold medal with bright psychedelic colors and a purple ribbon.

Theresa Reese, RMR, Honolulu, Hawaii, an official court reporter for the First Circuit Court, will be hosting an event that will include an information kiosk at her courthouse to raise awareness about the profession and the role court reporters play in the judicial system.

In Kansas City, Kan., a court reporter shortage at the Wyandotte County Courthouse has prompted official court reporter Rosemarie A. Sawyer-Corsino, RPR, to plan a meet-and-greet at the courthouse to raise awareness about the need for qualified professionals.

Members and states compete in the annual NSCA challenge

Everyone who participates in an event to celebrate 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is also encouraged to enter NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) fourth annual challenge.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to spread the word about what viable career paths court reporting and captioning are. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations. More information about the NCSA Challenge is also available at NCRA.org/government.

Still planning? Check out NCRA’s resources

Be sure to visit NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center at NCRA.org/Awareness. The site provides numerous resources including:

  • press release templates that state associations, schools, and individuals can use to help promote the week and the profession
  • media advisories to announce specific events
  • talking points
  • social media messages
  • a guide to making the record
  • information on NCRF’s Oral Histories Project, including the Library of Congress Veterans History Project
  • downloadable artwork, including the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and DiscoverSteno logos
  • brochures about careers in court reporting and captioning
  • a quick link to NCRA’s DiscoverSteno site that includes more information about the free A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program
  • and more

In addition, the 2018 resource center includes an updated, customizable PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is geared toward potential court reporting students and the public in general to bring awareness to the ample opportunities available in the profession.

Remember to share how you celebrate the week by sending information about and photos of your event to NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Everyone is also encouraged to share his or her activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno.

Gadsden State student earns national scholarship

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyGadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala., announced in a press release issued Jan. 29 that Analisa Arnold is one of two students nationwide to earn the Student Intern Scholarship from the National Court Reporters Foundation. The scholarship is worth $1,000 and is offered to students who are enrolled in NCRA-approved court reporting programs and meet other requirements.

Read more.

Go for the gold in NCRA’s Olympic student speed contest!

In celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test offered to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. (After all, it is the Olympics!) One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.*

How to win: All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes.

  • Gold medal prize: NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value)
  • Silver medal prize: Choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value)
  • Bronze medal prize: $25 Starbucks gift card

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the student newsletter and the JCR. NCRA wants to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions.

*Full details and rules for the contest will be sent to your teachers, so please make sure they know you would like to participate. The contest will run from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17.

For more information, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser at deborah0841@att.net or Ellen Goff at egoff@ncra.org.

A little help from your friends

Stephen Shea, Amelia Bradley, and Lindsey NiBlack

Amelia Bradley, Lindsey NiBlack, and Stephen Shea started together at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., in the summer of 2016. They came together from different backgrounds, with different experiences, each with their own reasons for wanting to go into the profession. Soon the three formed a bond of friendship that has been a vital support system throughout their time at school. Bradley, NiBlack, and Shea sat down to interview each other to discuss how far they had come and where they plan to go.

How did you become interested in court reporting?

Shea: My wife and I knew someone in the industry. We came to an open house, and this career seemed a perfect fit for me. I wanted a stimulating, mobile career for the future.

NiBlack and Bradley: We were both unsatisfied with just our Bachelor of Arts degrees and wanted to do more. Like all good ideas, our mothers suggested the field of court reporting.

Did you have careers or degrees in something else, and if so, what made you switch to court reporting?

Shea: My career was my family’s printing business. I do have a Bachelor of Arts in management.

NiBlack: I have a bachelor’s in religious studies. So, obviously, that’s not exactly practical (laughter). A bachelor’s doesn’t have the same pull that it used to, so I wanted a skill, not just another degree.

Bradley: I am a professional ice skating instructor, and I have a bachelor’s in journalism. There are similarities between journalism and court reporting, but I wanted a career with more stability. Plus, I realized that I wanted to be more “behind the scenes.” Now, I can just listen, and I’m nosy!

Describe your support system at school. How has it helped you to overcome your challenges?

Bradley, NiBlack, and Shea: Amelia is by far the most positive. She always tells us, “You can do it!” We have found that it is easier to disappoint yourself than your friends and support system. We all have different strengths, too. Amelia is great at speedbuilding. Lindsey helps out with technology. Steve’s job is to keep us laughing. We all pull each other up in our academic classes, too! We’re the only ones left from our starting steno theory class and have been through a lot together.

It’s nice to have friends to ask stupid questions so that we don’t look stupid in class (laughter). That was a bond forged in our grammar class. That, and Steve’s study guides!

Even when we are aggravated about school, we come to see each other. There can be a lot of negative responses to testing and to some of the more challenging aspects of court reporting school. It is great to have a supportive group to go to and seek some encouragement from one’s peers. That keeps us in a positive frame of mind to be successful.

What has been your most difficult challenge so far?

Shea: Making the decision to not do something at home that needs to be done in order to practice has been hard. Making myself more disciplined has been a challenge. It can be hard to say no to your kids.

NiBlack: Definitely accepting failure. I have never failed so many tests in my life! Plus, being a steno writer, realizing that it takes us time to build speed.

Bradley: I think learning to be patient, like things won’t happen when I want them to. That doesn’t make me a failure. I’ve also had to cut back on a lot of work in order to progress. I have learned that I can’t do everything.

What is your dream job?

Shea: Barring becoming president of football operations for the New England Patriots, I think I want to be an official reporter for its stability.

NiBlack: Go Pats! I’m too late to be an astronaut. For now, I am leaning toward being a freelance reporter with the freedom to set my own schedule. I want to travel while I am still young! I think I would like to become an official of the court when I decide to settle down though.

Bradley: Officialship! I like routine and stability. I feel like that would allow me to form stronger relationships in the workplace. I do plan to get married and have children, so in order to be flexible, I might plan to freelance during that period of my life.

It’s a new year, a new beginning

portrait of the author

Kay Moody

By Kay Moody

It’s a new year, and you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to practice more, buckle down, and make progress in machine shorthand. You’ve probably also set a goal to be at a certain speed level by the end of the next term in school. Every successful person will tell you that the secret to success is setting goals and working toward meeting those goals in an organized and timely manner. Here are seven tips to help you succeed:

  1. Set goals by identifying and eliminating your weaknesses and developing strengths.

When reading back shorthand notes, identify what you need to accomplish in order to write the selection at the speed dictated. Reading back and evaluating shorthand notes is an essential element in goal setting. Instead of saying, “It’s too fast,” identify exactly what you need to do to write at your goal speed. For example, if briefs and/or phrases cause you to hesitate or drop, set a goal to review them every day.

  1. Make goals that are small and attainable.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t attain their goals is that they set large goals that take months to accomplish. Instead, make small, attainable goals. Divide large, long-term goals into small, specific tasks that you can accomplish on a daily basis. For example, if you want to increase your shorthand speed by 40 wpm during the semester, break that down into two criteria:

  • To write 40 wpm faster in 16 weeks, you need to improve by 2.5 wpm each week. Set short-term weekly goals.
  • What principle of skill/speed development do you have to master to improve 2.5 wpm in one week? Identify what keeps you from writing faster, and develop study plans and drills to achieve this goal.

Gaining speed and passing tests are not goals; they are the result of working on and sticking to your short-term daily and weekly goals.

  1. State goals that are positive.

Instead of saying, “I’m not going to drop,” say, “I’m going to push myself and get every word. I’m going to get a stroke for everything that is dictated.”

  1. Remind yourself of a goal every time you write on your machine.

Before you begin writing, mentally establish the goal or purpose of each session, e.g., “I’m going to stay with the dictation and get an outline for every word.” When a brief, phrase, or difficult words causes you to hesitate, look up the correct outlines, drill on them, and retake the selection. Repeat the process until you can write the take without hesitating.

  1. Identify goals that are specific and can be measured.

When you read back a selection and have 40 drops, set the specific goal of fewer than 35 drops. Practice the same section until you reach that goal. In your next practice session, practice until you are down to 25 drops, then 15 drops, and finally no drops. Apply the same principle to cleaning up your notes, getting all your briefs, writing numbers, etc.

  1. Establish realistic expectation as to when you can reach your short term goals.

For example, “This week, I’m going to review and drill on 25 briefs every day.” By the end of the week, you will have reviewed, reinforced, and mastered 150 briefs.

  1. Reward yourself when you succeed in reaching a goal.

When you attain a goal, take a break, call a friend, or watch your favorite TV show as a reward. When you attain a major accomplishment (passing a desired speed level, for example), give yourself a BIG reward, something that you’ve wanted to do for a while but have been too busy practicing in order to reach your goals.

To summarize the elements of goal setting: Develop goals that eliminate weaknesses, that develop strengths, and that are small and attainable. Set a goal every time you sit at your machine, whether it is in class or a short practice session. All goals should be positive, measurable, specific, and realistic; and reward yourself when you succeed in reaching a goal.

Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, is an instructor at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind. She can be reached at kay.moody@ccr.edu.

Students resolve to work hard and graduate

pen and index card with "2018 goals" written at the top and a listIt’s 2018: Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Up-to-Speed reached out to court reporting students to ask them about their resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. Many of us resolve to start exercising, travel more often, or pick up a new hobby. But these students are all work and (mostly) no play.

“Making resolutions is usually not my thing,” said Rosalind Dennis of Arlington Career Institute in Arlington, Texas, “but I am this year!” Ask Connie Hwang of Plaza College in Forest Hills, N.Y., what her resolutions are and she gets right to the point: “Finish my stenography degree. Start working as a court reporter.” She is not alone. It seems every student has one thing top of mind this January: working hard.

What does working hard look like? “In 2018 I would like to become proficient in steno writing. I would like to eliminate hesitation and become more confident in muscle memory,” said Vickie Pelletier, of the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind. Pelletier, like many students, is focused on her skills. January is a natural time to look back over the past year, assess your progress, and set some goals for the next 12 months. Macy Thompson, another student at the College of Court Reporting, will be one of those aiming for her goal. “I want to keep expanding my knowledge in briefs and phrases to help with less hesitation. My list of improvements could go on forever. I just really want to improve my speed,” Thompson said.

Speed is a common theme for student New Year’s resolutions. Taneshia Crockett, a student at Sheridan Technical College in Hollywood, Fla., said, “My goal is to accomplish passing all speeds.” She wants to pass her 180 wpm by the end of 2018 and be interning shortly after that. She has a no-nonsense plan: “Improve my writing habits. Focus on my weak areas.” Thompson wants to be at 225 wpm by December of 2018. “I’ve been struggling with my 120s since August. After having decided to make this my ultimate goal for the coming year, I am already two tests away from being in my 140s.”

Of course, all this pressure to increase speed leads to increased stress. To manage their stress, students say they are vowing to improve study habits, spend more time practicing, and find ways to reduce test anxiety. Cherie Allen, also a student at the College of Court Reporting, is resolving to “concentrate more on my studies, become better at time management, and try not to procrastinate so much.” Pelletier is doing her best to balance work, school, and an expanding family. “I would like to improve my time management. With a baby on the way, a degree underway, and a full-time job to maintain, the past few months have not been easy. I would like to manage my time in such a way where I am not tired during most of it. Miracles do happen!”

The ultimate goal of a student, as Hwang noted, is not to be a student any longer. Dennis said of her resolutions: “I plan to be vigilant in my practice time, finish school, and test in September.” When asked to narrow down just one goal for 2018, she picked, “Reaching 225!” More than half of the students who responded to Up-to-Speed indicated that graduating and finding work as a court reporter were their goals as well.

Allen’s drive and determination are tempered by her other aspirations: “to grow my love for the court reporting field” and “to overall have a happier/positive state of mind.” Only a few of the students Up-to-Speed reached out to brought up the lighter side of New Year’s resolutions. Jennifer Golightly, another student at Arlington Career Institute, said that “self health and awareness” were the things she would most like to improve in 2018. Hwang wants to increase her speed, but she also wants to “slow down.” She said she will travel more and “strengthen my relationships with family and friends.”

And Hwang has one more resolution. When she finishes her degree, she’s going to “CELEBRATE.”

Read your way to excellence

By Caroline R. Castle

If it is true, as the old saying goes, that “clothes make the man,” we could readily say that “words make the reporter.” Words are our stock in trade, our raison d’être. It falls to reporters, then, to have more than a passing acquaintance with the English language and with the meanings and spellings of as many words as possible. While it is true that we can report anything phonetically, the trick lies in transforming our soundalikes into sensible speech on the page. To do this well requires that we develop the kind of working knowledge of words that is derived most effectively from in-depth reading, an increasingly lost art.

Students, especially, should be concerned with expanding their vocabularies. As a reporter with 30-plus years’ experience and a veteran of proofreading, I know the impression that is created when an attorney sees a misused name or word on the page. When reporters transcribe elude instead of allude, for instance, they are announcing to the client that they are unfamiliar with these rather commonplace terms. To avoid such errors, students should begin now to create and maintain good reading habits. Only constant and repeated exposure to words of all stripes develops confidence in lexicological skill.

stack of booksThis is important for two reasons specific to accurate court reporting. Familiarity with the meaning of many words will, one, allow the reporter to follow and transcribe verbal speech accurately; and, two, increase spelling skill. Reporting softwares now include many aids to enhance accuracy. Even so, spell-check cannot solve all ills and is no substitute for knowledge. The reporter is always the final arbiter of the transcript and must take responsibility.

What, then, should we include in a reading regimen designed to promote tip-top professionalism? First, it is important to realize that any reading helps: fiction, nonfiction, periodicals, and newspapers. Some reading should be undertaken every day, before or after class. Newspapers and journalistic periodicals are particularly helpful, as they convey not only a general knowledge of words but also of newsworthy events in the world. It is vitally important to have an awareness of current events because it is impossible to predict what may emerge from someone’s mouth at any given moment. Names and places in the news regularly figure in testimony, and you stand a much better chance of reproducing accurate subjects about which you have even a modicum of understanding. This is particularly true when it comes to any technical field — medicine, science, business — but also extends to politics, culture, philosophy, and even religion. So grab a newspaper or a magazine and get busy.

Periodicals that run essays and book reviews are particularly helpful. They are usually associated with cultural, political, or economic life. Harper’s, The Atlantic, and National Review are three that come to mind that are most useful in this respect. The New Yorker is also excellent. Do not be put off by the particular political points of view espoused by such publications; what you are reading for is wealth of language.

Weekly current events periodicals are also very helpful. The best known of these are probably Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and The Economist. If you want some lighter reading, try Reader’s Digest. Along that line, regularly completing the “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” quiz in Reader’s Digest is a great way to enhance your vocabulary.

A word of warning regards the use of the internet to check unfamiliar words: Make certain you have a good dictionary and a thesaurus as well as other reference materials such as Physician’s Desk Reference, a medical dictionary, and a legal dictionary that can be tapped to verify specific terms. Again, as with spell-check, the internet does not solve all ills. If you have a mind full of information upon which to draw, you are better prepared to face the many puzzles you will confront in your writing.

Of course, in addition to current publications, the more books you read, the better off you are. I tend to favor nonfiction — political content and biographies are excellent — but high-quality novels and literature are very useful indeed. If you are perusing the book reviews, you will undoubtedly find many of the new releases interesting and will wish to read them, further exposing yourself to the written word.

Finally, although it does not exactly fall into the category of reading per se, solving word puzzles promotes a nimble mind. Mid-level difficulty crosswords are excellent for developing vocabulary, spelling, and a general knowledge base. Doing the jumble puzzle in your newspaper provides both a good feel for how words are comprised as well as an increasingly sharp recognition of prefixes and suffixes. And always, if you encounter an unfamiliar word in puzzling or reading, please stop and look it up to make the word a permanent part of your vocabulary arsenal.

Emulate Shakespeare, who achieved excellence using an invaluable tool: richness of language. Use this same tool and achieve excellence yourself.

Caroline R. Castle, RDR, CRR (Ret.), is a retired court reporter in Rapid City, S.D. She can be reached at bluish5746@hotmail.com.

Tri-C and Realtime Coach to host first national student realtime skills test competition

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), in Parma, Ohio, and Realtime Coach have partnered to host the first ever national realtime skills test competition for court reporting and captioning students. This competition is open to all students across the country, not just students at Tri-C. Registration for the event opens Dec. 20 and runs through Jan. 8, 2018. The tests will be offered at the end of January, and the winners’ names will be announced during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 10-17.

According to Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, professor at Tri-C’s captioning and court reporting program, the test will be a five-minute audio Q&A realtime skills examination. The cost to register is $10, and registration is limited to the first 200 students who sign up. Students can choose from 120 wpm, 140 wpm, 160 wpm, or 180 wpm but are limited to taking only one test.

“We were inspired to do something that would mimic the professional test competition, promote focused practice and effort regarding realtime writing, and motivate students to practice in a more competitive manner than they may normally experience,” said Krueger about what motivated the college to partner with Realtime Coach to host a national student competition.

“We wanted to offer something fun and challenging to students across the country,” added Kruger. Announcing the results during Court Reporting & Captioning Week will let us celebrate “the dedicated, excellent work of students, schools, and the court reporting industry,” she said. “Motivation to practice and enhance their skills, build accuracy and speed, find an inner strength to do well, [and] spotlight realtime writing skills should be an essential aspect of all court reporting and captioning students.”

Registration to compete in the contest will be through Realtime Coach; however, students do not have to be enrolled in Realtime Coach in any other way to participate. Registrants must attend a short webinar to demonstrate how to take the test. The webinar will be available Jan. 9, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Jan. 10, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET. Prior to participating in the contest, students will also have an opportunity to practice accessing, taking, and uploading a test.

To participate in the contest, students will register at Realtime Coach, create a new account, and complete the form that appears. They can then click the purchase button to buy their desired test. A realtime test score of 95 percent or higher is required to pass the test.

For more information about the realtime skills test competition, including practice and testing dates and times, contact Jen Krueger at jen.krueger@tri-c.edu.

NCRF announces winners of Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and Student Intern Scholarships

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that Jared Orozco, a student from Sheridan Technical College in Hollywood, Fla., was named recipient of the 2017 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation also announced that Summer Vaughan, a student from College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., and Analisa Arnold from Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Ala., are the recipients of the 2017 Student Intern Scholarships.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

“I chose to be a court reporter because I wanted a job that has a relatively flexible schedule to permit me to do volunteer work and dedicate time to being a minister,” said Orozco. “After I finish school, my ultimate goal would be to work in transcribing sermons to expedite their translation so it can be of benefit to people all over the world.” He plans to use the scholarship funds to purchase a much-needed computer as well as CAT software.

Jared Orozco

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship is a $2,000 award, given annually to a high-achieving court reporting student. This scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students through years of service on NCRA’s committees and boards that guide the education of court reporting students. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 wpm
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

“When called upon to read back in class, Jared summons his talent to imitate accents, ranging from Darth Vader to Southern drawl, to amuse and enthrall his classmates. However, when it comes to integrity, honesty, professionalism, and altruism, Jared is very serious,” said Aurora Joslyn, CRI, an instructor at Sheridan Technical College. Joslyn added: “Now, thanks to the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship award, Jared can proudly take his place among the ranks of professional court reporters equipped with the tools for success.”

Student Intern Scholarships

Summer Vaughan

“Court reporting has always been the one job that has stuck out in my mind as my ‘dream job.’ I was always discouraged from going into this career because people are very misinformed about the opportunities available for a court reporter,” said Vaughan, who had pursued a paralegal degree before entering court reporting. “Once I began my court reporting internship, I knew I was right where I had always wanted to be. The reporters I interned with have been so welcoming, helpful, and encouraging. Nearly all of them have continued to follow my journey and have cheered me on every step of the way.” Vaughan plans to put the scholarship funds towards professional software and certification fees.

“Summer will be a successful professional because she has grit. She not only has the skill but the mental fortitude, determination, and desire to be an outstanding court reporter. That same grit or perseverance that took her through court reporting school with honors will be what propels her into a highly accomplished career,” said Nicky Rodriquez, the director of admissions at College of Court Reporting. “Summer is very deserving of this scholarship and will, without a doubt, make a positive impact on the court reporting profession for years to come.”

The Student Intern Scholarship is a $1,000 award, given annually to two high-achieving court reporting students who have completed the internship portion of their education. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 190 wpm (if pursuing judicial reporting) or at least one literary test at a minimum of 160 wpm (if pursuing captioning)
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Analisa Arnold

“Not only is the internship experience a great opportunity for easing fears a student may have about moving from the educational environment to the professional realm, but it also gives an in-depth chance to experience the multifaceted scene of court reporting. The most important lesson I learned from my internship process is court reporting is more than just a job; it’s a rewarding career opportunity that benefits so many people,” said Arnold. She plans to put the scholarship funds toward the start-up costs as she moves forward as a professional.

“Analisa Arnold is a well-rounded young lady who has high ambitions and this keeps her motivated to persevere through all the ups and downs as a reporting student,” said Michelle Roberts, CRI, an instructor at Gadsden State Community College. “Her practice habits throughout her stint here in school will assure her a great career as a realtime writer. Her precise writing style will assure her a big platform to display her talents in this field.”

Jim Woitalla’s legacy continues with student scholarships

By Jennifer Sati

As we all cherish our memories of Jim Woitalla and relish every single moment we spent with him, his legacy continues through his scholarships for judicial reporting students at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn.

Callie Sajdera, Anoka Tech student, and Peter Gravett, Anoka Tech Foundation director

Three $1,000 scholarships were awarded this past summer semester to students. All three of the recipients had Jim as their technology instructor, which made the award all the more special. The recipients were Jennifer Brama, who has since graduated; Callie Sajdera, a 200 wpm student; and Jamie Ward, a 180 wpm student.

The scholarships were presented on Oct. 5 at the Anoka Technical College fall scholarship dinner and ceremony. It was a privilege and blessing to have Jim’s mother and two of his sisters attend the scholarship ceremony and be a part of awarding the very first Woitalla scholarships. Callie Sajdera, the student speaker at the foundation ceremony, shared heartfelt stories of Jim as her instructor.

The judicial reporting program would like to thank everyone who has generously donated toward Jim Woitalla’s scholarship fund. Please know that the students are very appreciative of the thoughtfulness of others and that the money has made a difference in their education. We at Anoka Tech will keep Jim’s passion for this amazing profession thriving by continuing to graduate students who share his same passion and enthusiasm for technology and excellence.

Court reporting students Callie Sajdera (far left) and Jamie Ward (far right) pose with members of Jim Woitalla’s family

Since the inception of the scholarship fund, a total of $8,500 has been donated. We are hopeful we can keep Jim’s scholarship fund active with continued donations and use the funds to award two $1,000 scholarships annually. The family discerningly suggested that more funds be given out this first year or two so that students who learned from Jim could receive the most benefit.

Jim was loved and respected by countless reporters and captioners around the country, and it is a great privilege to be able to continue to share his legacy with students, our future! Learn more about how to get involved with the Anoka Tech Foundation and the “Judicial Reporting Program/Woitalla Scholarship Fund.”

Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is a captioner and an instructor at Anoka Tech. She is also on NCRA’s Board of Directors. She can be reached at jsati@anokatech.edu.