I wrote this in September 2012 last year after I attended the NCRA Convention. Enjoy!
On August 9-12, I travelled to Philadelphia to attend the NCRA 2012 Convention and Exposition. This is an annual event hosted by the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association) where court reporters, CART providers, captioners, firm owners, and students come together from all over the world to network with others in the field. I had never been to an NCRA Convention before, and needless to say, I was very excited. Over the three days, I attended seminars, met other students and reporters, visited the Expo, and explored the city in between.
One of the highlights was meeting Mark Kislingbury who currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest court reporter, typing at 360 words per minute. Mark was very friendly and gave me some great advice on speedbuilding. He recommended that students practice three times a day on their machines, and it didn’t matter for how long. I was captivated during his seminar when he showcased his own theory where you can build entire phrases with just one stroke. It made me want to jump back on my own machine immediately to practise and also to incorporate some of his briefs into my own writing.
The Installation of Board of Directors Presentation was memorable because I got to see all the distinguished members of the NCRA. It was very inspiring to see all the members with their credentials hanging from their name tags, with some hanging as low as to their knees! It was also neat to see the entire presentation broadcast with live captioning provided on the big screens. The energy and respect of the audience was thrilling to witness as each new member was installed. The President’s Address was unforgettable as Tami Smith talked about the importance of realtime writing, and how we need to build a strong community to inspire a new generation of court reporters.
At the Awards Luncheon, there were many gasps of admiration when the winners of the speed contests walked up the stage to receive their medals. It was incredible to hear how fast the competitions were dictated at, and equally amazing to know that the contestants had all got it down accurately. For example, contestants at the speed contest wrote and transcribed three five-minute legs—220 Literary, 230 Legal Opinion, and 280 Testimony. The top three winners scored 99.380%, 99.233%, and 99.184% respectively. Hearing those scores was inspirational to say the least! There were numerous nonstop applauses and much deserved standing ovations for all the winners.
The theme of the 2012 NCRA Convention was “Dream. Believe. Inspire.” To tell the truth, upon arriving in Philadelphia, I had been feeling gloomy about my future steno prospects. I had passed my most recent 160wpm test in the beginning of May, and had been feeling glum that I was not able to pass a subsequent test in months. However, upon leaving the Convention, I was definitely inspired once more to achieve the dream that I had set out to accomplish: becoming a realtime reporter. I was very glad that I attended the Convention and look forward to learning lots more at the next one.