Court reporting schools to exhibit at career day event in Texas

jcr-publications_high-resThe Gilmer [Texas] Mirror posted an article on Feb. 13 about the Texas Supreme Court holding a formal court session to hear oral arguments in two cases at LeTourneau University in Longview,  in conjunction with a “Law as a Career Day” being held on campus. Numerous law schools, paralegal schools, and court reporting schools will have recruiting booths on-site.

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Challenges, contests, prizes, and fun under way for Court Reporting & Captioning Week

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Medal for TCRA’s virtual run celebrating the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

As NCRA members, court reporting students, schools, and others get ready for the start of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being celebrated Feb. 11-18, a number of challenges and contests offering some hefty prizes have been issued across the nation.

NCRA’s Student Committee has challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. Under the contest’s rules, participants do not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first-place winner will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide. The second-place winner will receive a choice of a one-year student membership to the Association or one leg of the RPR Skills Test. The third-place winner will earn a $25 Starbucks gift card. Winners will be announced in the Feb. 22 issue of the JCR Weekly.

Students taking the challenge will be required to submit a test verification form, signed by both the student and a teacher.

The Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is sponsoring Off the Record and On the Run, a virtual run being held Feb. 1-28, in celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Anyone can participate, according to Beth Faulk, TCRA’s executive director. The event is expected to generate not only awareness and support of the court reporting profession but to also offer a healthy social outlet for court reporters who want to get together and have fun with their friends, Faulk explained.

The cost to register is $25. Participants who run 5k, 10k, or a half marathon will receive a four-inch retro style writing machine medal adorned with a ribbon that reads “AUF T RORD.” All proceeds will benefit TCRA to help it continue to provide quality education, advocacy, and services to its members.

“Those who signed up first have already started receiving their medals and love them! Various reporters and groups are organizing to conduct their runs and walks all together at different parks and locations during National Court Reporting & Captioning Week,” Faulk said She noted that since it is a virtual run, participants can even compete on a treadmill.

Although participants are encouraged to submit their finish time, they are not required to do so to receive their medal. Additional information and registration for the event is can be found at Virtualstrides.com.

The friendly challenged issued by NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) is also heating up. The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, or host a Veterans History Project events to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Members of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association (PCRA) will be conducting three Veterans History Project interviews at local restaurants, including at one site in New Jersey. Julie Wilson, a PCRA district director said the association has both freelance and official court reporters from Chester, Bucks, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties volunteering to interview and transcribe the stories of the veteran participants.

The winner of the 2016 NCSA challenge, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, said members in her city have already participated in 18 school demonstrations and have an additional eight more planned for later in the spring. Uviedo plans to exceed last year’s number of 26 school demonstrations to once again earn NCSA’s top honors.

The competition for the NCSA challenge closes Feb. 18. Anyone participating in a qualifying event can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have. Click on the NSCA challenge registration site to register your event.

The ways to celebrate 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week are unlimited. To learn more how you can celebrate the week or to find the latest in resources, including press release templates, media pitches, presentations, and more, visit the Resource Center on NCRA.org or contact the NCRA communications team at pr@ncra.org. And don’t forget to share with NCRA how you celebrate.

Nueces County judges form committee to research court reporters’ salaries

jcr-publications_high-resAccording to an article posted Jan. 29 by the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, state district judges formed a committee earlier in January. The committee will research salaries of court reporter positions in other areas and look into ways to increase Nueces County, Texas, offers.

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LeTourneau University to host “Law as a Career Day”

jcr-publications_high-resLeTourneau University, Longview, Texas, is holding “Law as a Career Day” on Feb. 16 for college and high school students interested in legal careers, according to a Dec. 19 article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Law, paralegal, and court reporting schools will be at the event to provide information and answer questions about their programs. The university is also hosting a formal court session of the Texas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in two cases.

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State-wide court reporter shortage could soon affect Rio Grande Valley

jcr-publications_high-resValleyCentral.com reported on Nov. 30 that a shortage of court reporters across the state could make it difficult for courts in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, to fill these positions in the near future.

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Captioning the moment: UTRGV spring grads will see their names on the big screen

An article posted by the Valley Town Crier on May 12 about the spring commencement ceremonies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley showcases how CART providers will make the experience more fulfilling for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing by ensuring each graduate’s name appears on the big screens during the event.

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NCRA member finds pet buffalo new home

The Denton Record-Chronicle posted an article on May 12 about NCRA member Karen Schoeve’s quest to find a new home for her housebroken pet buffalo, Bullet, via Craigslist. Schoeve, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter form Argyle, Texas, found a new home for Bullet with a landowner in Flower Mound.

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Resident donates historical court reporter’s record to county court

On April 25, the Weatherford Democrat, Weatherford, Texas, ran an article about local resident Tim Lewelling’s donation of a court reporter’s notebook to the Parker County court. The notebook dates back to the late 1800s. “From 1897 through 1903, this one person had written every page with any court case that had gone on, the judgment, how much they owed, and their fines,” said Lewelling about the book, which he found while going through the belongings of his late father. “I was just amazed …. I wanted to donate it to someone who could appreciate this.”

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Two longtime officers of the court retire simultaneously

On April 14, The Examiner reported the retirement of two longtime court reporters from Jefferson County, Texas. The article notes that, as guardians of the record, the jobs of Veronica “Bunny” Wimberly and Anita Seegers, RPR, CRR, required the skill and knowledge gained through their 60 years of combined service. Wimberly and Seegers retired on March 31 after 33 and 27 years serving in Jefferson County, respectively.

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And the winners are…

The National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) recently announced the winners of a friendly challenge the group issued to encourage state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. Prizes include complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education.

The challenge called on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and help celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week held Feb. 14-20.

“The goal of the challenge each year is to build and grow participation by state associations and their members,” said NCSA Chair Mary Burzynski, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a natural tie-in to the completion of the NCSA competition and a great time for us to celebrate our accomplishments. The greatest benefit is that we now have a good running start at promoting court reporting, captioning, and CART to a public who may not know what we do for a living,” Burzynski said, who noted that this year’s contest was the second time NCSA has hosted it.

“We were looking for numbers. The states who won, as well as the individuals, were the ones who participated in the greatest number of school demonstrations, career fairs, or VHPs,” Burzynski noted.

Grand prize winner Erminia Uviedo, RMR, CRR, a court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, received a complimentary registration to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 4-7 in Chicago, Ill. During the contest Uviedo orchestrated involvement by fellow court reporters to exhibit at more than a dozen high school career days and was influential in generating media coverage about the profession.

“Winning the grand prize for NCSA was the cherry on top to the past six months of promoting student recruitment,” said Uviedo. “When I started organizing career fairs and presentations, I had no idea there was going to be a contest. But after I read about it on TheJCR.com, I started posting on our state association’s Facebook page to entice our members even more to volunteer. It worked!”

First prize included two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo and was awarded to the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA). Among the activities TCRA sponsored were Veteran History Projects events, exhibiting at career days, visiting local court reporting programs during open houses, and media coverage that included segments on two local morning shows.

Mary Berry, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from San Antonio and President of TCRA, said this is the second year the association has been involved in the NCSA contest and attributes the need for court reporters nationwide as a major factor to participating. She also attributes the creation of a Student Recruitment Task Force at the state level with helping the association succeed with so many activities.

“We need to bring awareness to the public that there is a shortage of court reporters. Many we visited with had never heard of a career in court reporting. Though our target audience was the students, we found several parents just as interested in learning more about our profession,” Berry said.

“The beauty of it all is that we worked as a team — court reporting students, reporters, and instructors — to showcase our profession. Our members were able to see the value of working as a team in promoting court reporting and captioning to the public,” she added.

The Kansas Court Reporters Association earned second place in the contest and was awarded two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp that was held March 20-22 in Reston, Va. KCRA promoted the court reporting and captioning professions via an array of activities including securing an official proclamation recognizing the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and two broadcast segments that featured interviews with Cindy Issacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe, Kan., and the association’s president.

“We are so excited that we did so well, especially since we’re an itty, bitty state, compared with my home state of Texas,” Issacsen said.

Participation prizes included two NCRA $50 vouchers and were awarded to the Colorado Court Reporters Association, Connecticut Court Reporters Association, Iowa Court Reporters Association, Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners, and Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association.

“While a contest always promotes competition, I think it also fosters teamwork,” Burzynski said. “States were competing against each other for a few prizes, but at the same time, we all had the same goal. We want students in our programs, and we want the profession we love to thrive and grow.”

Burzynski encourages all state court reporter associations to plan to participate in NCSA’s 2017 contest in addition to making the commitment to promote the court reporting and captioning professions throughout the year.

“NCRA has the tools readily available on its website to help reporters get started in organizing their presentations. Make it fun! Find a colleague or two to partner up with. Set up your equipment. Print a short transcript. Assign students to be the players in the hearing. Viola! You have an easy and effective demonstration,” she added.

For resources, ideas, and tips to help promote the court reporting and captioning profession, visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week Web page. All materials can easily be edited to reflect the date, location, and other information relating to a state’s planned activity. For more information, contact NCRA’s Communications Team at aroketenetz@ncra.org.