By Kate Saunders, M.Ed., CRI

The Broadcast Captioning and Court Reporting major at South Technical High School is completing its tenth year, so we’re celebrating the program and our graduates with some great news! The program was originally designed for high school juniors who spend two years in the program. They spend half of their school day at South Technical High School and the other half at the high school they normally attend within their school districts. Now, in its tenth year, new doors are opening to qualified incoming seniors in the 2014-2015 school year, too!

South Tech will be accepting one-year-only seniors into the program in the Fall Semester. Seniors will have their choice of morning or afternoon classes where they will be instructed on realtime theory as a one-year offering. Like the incoming two-year juniors in the program, they will spend the other half of their school day at the high school they normally attend.

The new senior one-year program will be ideal for seniors who are entertaining the idea of becoming future court reporters, but who may not want to invest in the time and equipment costs to find out if it’s right for them. In addition, many seniors have already completed all or most of their credit requirements, leaving them time to explore possible future careers. Seniors who are accepted into the high school program will be able to take part in field trips to courtrooms, freelance agencies, captioning adventures to Cardinals’ baseball games at Busch Stadium, and much more!

High school juniors who complete two years in the high school program can earn up to 12 college credit hours that articulate into St. Louis Community College (STLCC) in the court reporting major there. High school students who enter as seniors in the new, one-year offering will be able to articulate up to 6 college credits in machine shorthand theory into the STLCC major.

All equipment, books, and transportation is provided to students. Students must live in the St. Louis County area and meet other minimum requirements to be considered, but anyone can apply! If you know of a high school junior or senior who is considering court reporting, captioning, or other realtime professions, share this great news with them!

For more information about the one- and two-year offerings in court reporting at South Technical High School, contact Kate Saunders, the Broadcast Captioning and Court Reporting Teacher, at For more information about the college program, contact Dr. Ziegler at .

And a BIG “Happy 10th Anniversary” to all of our students and graduates!

Please read the following Letter from Deborah K. McLaughlin, RPR, MO-CCR, IL-CSR, KS-CCR of McLaughlin Court Reporting Services, Inc. Hope this finds all of you making constant progress in your speed building endeavors.Unlike most college degree curriculums, court reporting is very much a self-paced, self-motivated curriculum. Speed building is different for each individual.

How quickly students progress through the court reporting program is determined by each individual. Those who choose not to practice on a regular basis, which is six days a week, in my opinion, will progress at a snailís pace. Those who put their heart and soul into their speed building, will progress at a much faster pace. Remember, the faster you get through school, the sooner you get to work as a court reporter! Make getting through school your number one priority!

Practice has so many variables. No one student will practice the same. Every studentís practice routine depends on what works for them. Things you should include in your practice session (which should be no less than one hour a day, but preferably much longer) include numbers and proper names. Have someone read out of a phone book or phone directory to you. It is a great way to make yourself write phonetically.

As a working reporting writing numbers can be one of the hardest things in your job. The numbers many people will use in their testimony are address, age, Social Security number, phone numbers and birth date. Because these are familiar numbers to witnesses, they speak them very fast. These are very important numbers for the attorneys, and it is important that court reporters make an accurate transcription of these numbers.

Each practice session you should take a five-minute ìtestî, transcribe and grade this ìtestî. It is the only way you can be sure of what errors you are making in your transcription. It will help you see the areas that you need to practice more. If you are making errors, but you never transcribe and grade, you have no idea what you are doing wrong, which means you make the same errors over and over and over again. Read what you write!

I often hear students discussing brief forms. A studentís world is all about brief forms because thatís whatís going to get them through reporting school, right? Wrong!

While brief forms can be great for writing faster, they can also present huge hesitation problems for you. My advice: if you find that you are hesitating to remember the brief, write it out and keep writing! If you hesitate at all on what your brief is, you are defeating the purpose of a brief. By the time you hesitate and try to remember the brief, you could have written the word phonetically and still be keeping up with the speaker.

Briefs are good, but briefs can be dangerous if not used properly.

If you find when you transcribe that you cannot read your briefs, what good are they? If you canít read them, write them out.

Some of the fastest writers are writers who write everything out. Why? How? Because they have no hesitation problems. Hesitation is one of the biggest enemies to writing fast. Again, briefs are a wonderful thing for court reporters, but if they cause you hesitation, write it out.

The recent Student Meet & Greet held on April 11 at Spazioís in Westport was a huge success. The students were entertained by Debbie Kriegshauser & Sue Moranís good reporter/bad reporter production. Working reporters from all areas of reporting, including captioning, CART, officialship and freelance were on hand to answer questions. Freelance agency owners/representatives were on hand to help answer questions for the students also. Some wonderful door prizes were awarded to those in attendance. A good time was had by all.

If you missed this event, be sure to consider attending next year in April. The MCRA Student Affairs Committee puts this on for you, the student, to help motivate and encourage you in your court reporting studies.

I would ask each of you to consider attending the MCRA 2012 Conference this year. The annual conference will be held in Kansas City, Missouri at the InterContinental Hotel, which is located in the beautiful Kansas City Plaza area, 401 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64112 on October 19, 20 and 21, 2012. MCRA has a block of rooms for $99.00. These rooms normally are $269.00. The website for the InterContinental Hotel is Click on reservation on the left-hand side towards the top of the page. The group booking code is MSC.

If you’ve never been to the Plaza, you won’t want to miss this weekend treat! This is a great shopping district with lots of pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and great window shopping or in-store shopping! Itís such a fun place to visit.

Consider taking Amtrak to Kansas City! How much fun to get your favorite students together for a train ride, conference and shopping in Kansas City! The Amtrak station is a mere 5 miles from the hotel. Taxi fare from the Train Station to hotel is $15.00!

Not into a train ride? How about the Mega Bus! The bus drop-off is 6 miles from the hotel, so the taxi fare would be comparable with the train station to hotel cost.

What more could a court reporting student want than a weekend with classmates living the dream! You will be able to network and get to know many of Missouriís finest court reporters. You will have a blast and even learn! Grab your favorite classmates, share a room, ride the train, the bus or drive, and treat yourself to a great weekend! You will definitely feel like a court reporter at this conference! We welcome you, in fact, we beg you to attend and join us for a fun-filled weekend.

Keep practicing!

The winner of the First Annual MCRA Essay contest is
St. Louis Community College Court Reporting Student Lori David Andreski!

Nothing Takes the Place of Persistence
An Essay Submitted
By Laurie David Andreski
For the
MCRA FREE ROOM at the 2011 Conference Award

March 21, 2011

Persistence is a constant: a constant drive, a constant will, and a constant presence. It is something done continually, without fail, and without giving up. Persistence is fighting against odds that are stacked against someone and against challenges in their life that they may encounter. Persistence is the key ingredient of success.To succeed in anything, a person must continually strive to keep the endeavor alive and growing. Even someone who is naturally talented must continue to hone their craft if they want to take it to the next level. Unforeseen events and missteps along the way happen to everyone. It is up to that person to make something positive out of the misfortune.

This is something I learned all too well this past fall. On October 1st my apartment burned down. I knew I had lost just about everything I owned. The damage was so severe that for the first week the only people allowed inside were the restoration crew. I had no idea what, if any, of my possessions had made it through intact. Two of the things I worried about most were my steno writer and my computer. I was into my third semester of school and knew that if I had to take a significant amount of time off in order to save enough money to purchase another writer, I would set myself back. To know that all of those precious hours could possibly have been wasted sickened me.

A week later my beloved grandmother passed away. I had only just begun the cleanout of the storage space the restoration workers had thrown all of my possessions into – whether burned, water damaged, or unharmed. This family tragedy not only devastated me, but also set me back another week on my clean-out.

While dealing with these life-altering events that had been so suddenly thrust upon me, I knew that I could not give up on my dream of becoming a court reporter. I knew how proud my grandmother was of me taking this step in my life, and I certainly did not want to let her down. I began contacting court reporters and other people in the judicial system that I knew to see if they had anything I could borrow if my writer would not work.

About four weeks after the fire, I was finally able to unearth both my computer and my writer out of the pile of what was now mostly moldy junk. Wrapped up in a tarp was a mass of cables and equipment. I rushed to my new home, plugged everything in, and held my breath. As soon as I saw the first lights come on, I was able to exhale. The equipment had made it through undamaged. I was now more determined than ever finish my schooling.

After not being able to practice for almost a month, I had a lot of catching up to do. In fact, I still feel like I am catching up. However, my instructor and people like the ladies I met while participating in the MCRA legislative cookie drop keep me motivated. Knowing my daughter is watching me and learning from my actions also inspires me to succeed.

I know that with persistence, one day I will achieve my goal. I will be able to live my dream. I will make my grandmother, my family, and – most importantly – myself proud. With persistence, I will become a court reporter.

Welcome Students to the Student Corner of the Missouri Court Reporters Association’s Website!

My name is Deborah (Deb/Debbie) McLaughlin. I currently serve as the Chair of the MCRA Student Affairs Committee. Within this committee are various sub-committees that have been organized to help each of you in your studies to become court reporters.

The committee anticipates an exciting line-up for you in the upcoming year, including a possible field trip, student mentorship, sponsorship at the MCRA Annual Conference to be held at the Lake of the Ozarks, and other various learning adventures. Let me introduce myself to you. I began court reporting in 1982 as a swing court reporter in the 22nd Judicial Circuit – St. Louis City. As a swing, I rotated through the circuit relieving court reporters who had a backlog of transcripts. This allowed me, new to St. Louis, to meet many of the judges, court reporters and other court personnel. After nearly two years of serving in that capacity, one of the judges asked me to be his official court reporter. I worked for that Judge for 8 years until his retirement. The newly appointed Judge hired me, and I worked for her for 11 years. In 2004 I opened my own freelance business, McLaughlin Court Reporting Services, Inc. I work out of my house. It’s a great gig!

The certifications I hold are MO-CCR, IL-CSR, KS-CCR and RPR, with part of my RMR under my belt (I really need to finish that up!)

I also taught at St. Louis Community College – Meramec for a number of years teaching dictation classes and Court Principles at night.

Over the years I have served on the Missouri Court Reporters Association’s Board of Directors, including President and Past President. I have served on various MCRA committees over the years.

So, as you can tell, court reporting has been very good to me. After 28 years, I still LOVE IT! I thrive on it. It is a burst of adrenaline for me every day. It is an awesome career.

I highly recommend that each of you, if you are not already, become a member of the Missouri Court Reporters Association. It is the backbone of your future profession. I also hope you become a member of the National Court Reporters Association, if you are a stenowriter, or the National Verbatim Reporters Association, if you are a voicewriter.

My goal is to have monthly updates in the Student Section of the MCRA website. Please let all of your fellow students know about the MCRA website, and also try to encourage them to join their state association.

Practice, practice, practice, practice….and don’t forget to read back what you take down.

Regards, Deb.

Students Join MCRA Now!
Our association offers mentoring to court reporting students. One of the most exciting reasons to join the association is that there is a voluntary mentoring program currently being offered to student members. Also, scholarships are available to students through the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Click here for more information.

By | 2015-01-26T17:53:28+00:00 January 26th, 2015|MOCRA|480 Comments

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