The Guardian

College of Court Reporting, EST. 1984

CCR Student Spotlight

Why I have chosen to be a Court Reporter…Again

By Kimberly S. Coltrain

My journey began in May of 1988. I walked into my high school office procedures class, and the guest speaker inquired, “How many of you like English?” A portion of the class raised their hands. “How many of you are nosy?” More hands went up. “How many of you like the possibility of making $100,000 a year?” All hands were in the air, eyes glued forward, ears perked! Any previous secretarial career presentations were overshadowed by something called court reporting.

I began attending Stenotype Academy that September. The next 24 months were filled with learning theory, legal and medical terminology, speedbuilding classes, and relearning to type properly (just when I thought the ‘hunt & peck’ method would carry me through!). Within 20 months I earned an occupational science degree in court reporting, and I began a per diem position for New York civil court circuit. I also began planning (and buying) for my wedding.

A month after our celebration, all non-salaried positions were frozen. I hadn’t invested in acquiring any certifications, upgrading from a manual writer, or CAT equipment. I just couldn’t compete. I had no clue what a mentor was and I was lost. My training in general office procedures took precedence. The degree allowed me to command more than if I had only earned a high school diploma, but my heart yearned for the steno world.

The next three decades intertwined with birthday parties, diagnoses, concerts, divorce, scouting, proms, deployments, job searches -- just every aspect of life. Throughout those years, though, the flicker for court reporting never completely extinguished. During my last appointment with my surgical team, I was asked if I had any plans (did they mean besides smiling 24/7?). I immediately responded with, “I’m returning to my first love.”

I began researching online schools to interview. Brick and mortar just wasn’t conducive in Atlanta traffic, and for me to drive more than a mile anywhere after dark was asking for an accident to happen! I had my interview questions, my needs, and my wants. I needed to know upfront: accreditation, cost per credit, if transfer credits were accepted (even from 26 years ago), and if financial aid was an option. I thought that was enough to at least get started. I looked on websites of several schools, but when I found College of Court Reporting, I was hooked! Everything was listed right on the webpage: cost per credit, time commitment, sample schedule, textbooks, accreditation and qualifications of every faculty member from academic to court reporting instructors, financial aid, technology, communications and public relations personnel. Every question I could think of had a link for the answer. If I still needed clarification, Nicky Rodriquez was now on speed dial. I enrolled in June of 2017.

I wriggled out my little manual ‘dental bowl’ writer and threaded the paper. My fingers assumed the position, and I felt like I was seeing an old friend. But how was this going to work? I knew CAT was required if I was planning on a full comeback, but paper was so familiar. No worries. CCR suggested choices of writers that would accommodate me at least through school. My heart said Wave…but my budget screamed Protégé! And I could use paper…until I found that the writer I purchased didn’t have a ribbon cartridge or a paper tray, and the battery had long since gone on to glory. No worries. I downloaded the manual, hit the Goodwill for a $2 USB connector to stop that chirp, and it was game ON! The ASCII & zip worlds awaited!

Boy, was I in for a shock! To say that there wasn’t a time I felt like giving up would be untrue. . Two weeks before my Theory I final, I sent the email to CCR: “That’s it! This is ridiculous! Why I thought I could do this again this many years later is beyond me! Thanks, CCR, but no thanks!”

There I was, in the middle of Wal-Mart, preparing to fill out an application to supplement my school clerk salary, and my phone went off. I’m so glad I answered! My instructor blurted out, “I know I’m not supposed to, but I had to call. I saw your email. Just stick it out through the final. It’s just two more weeks. Just wait it out…please.” Oh, all right! I stepped away from the job kiosk and went home.

I kept practicing, reviewed the previous lessons, and prepared for the final. Things weren’t so bad…I was okay…what could possibly go wrong? Besides Hurricane Irma blocking both exits to my street and leaving us without power for eight days? Nothing. I practiced by powering my writer from my Toyota until I could get to the library and ration internet. But what was I to do for the final? It was going to be after library hours. My mom lived an hour east, but her power had been restored for the past two days. I loaded my trusty Protégé into Trixi, put on high beams, and we made the trek! I took the final and got a 95.5!

I still hit plateaus, but I know what needs to be done. Of the many things that have changed, I know that getting back to basics is key: Revisit your theory as needed, develop the muscle memory, never compare yourself, look before your drops and drill on it, break it down, (I still print it out & red pen it up), speedbuild on it, challenge yourself, get over the pity party, pop the chocolate, read it back, and KEEP GOING!

I’ve gotten massive encouragement (and a few well-needed virtual kicks in the rear), and so much support from everyone at CCR that I can’t dream of attending anywhere else. From the first idea of making a homemade stenoboard to carry with me when I don’t have my writer, through completing nine live mentor tests, to recommendations that have helped me earn scholarships, to recently finding out I passed the simulated RPR/CSR graduation requirement, this journey has been nothing short of astonishing!

What consistently draws me back are thoughts of being able to serve. Perhaps I’ll be entrusted by the Georgia Pro Bono Project to assist a client who may not have means. Maybe I’ll have the honor to take down an adventure from a military service veteran. And I know the opportunity to encourage any student as a mentor will always be crucial to the posterity of court reporting.

Never before have I felt a truer distinction between a profession and vocation. A profession is chosen; a vocation chooses you.

Let’s go FellowFingerFlyers! Focal point found! Fingers on home row! Let’s write it Right!

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Curious About Voice Writing?

College of Court Reporting is an affiliate of the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). Founded in 1967, NVRA is the only national professional organization dedicated to the practice of voice writing, offering support and benefits to its members -- certification, conferences, and newsletters. NVRA offers several levels of membership. Court reporters using either voice or stenographic methods may become general members of NVRA.

This video provides an excellent demonstration of the voice method.

CCR's next voice class starts soon. Contact the admissions department at for more information.

NVRA - The Voice of the Future
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Notre Dame Law School graduate thanks CART provider

Ross O. Kloeber, IV, is a graduate of the Law School of the University of Notre Dame Law School. Throughout his three years attending classes, NCRA member Tammy L. Vandervort, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Osceola, Ind., provided CART to Kloeber who is deaf. Upon graduation, Kloeber accepted a position with Sidley Austin, LLP, in their Chicago, Ill., office as part of the firm’s litigation group. Below he shares insight into his experience working with Vandervort and why the services she provided were important to his law school success.

NCRA Virtual Convention 2020

No packing necessary! Just mark your calendar and register to join us virtually Aug. 7-9 for the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020. Register by July 15, and take advantage of the savings being offered during the early access period.

“Unfortunately, we were forced to cancel the 2020 Annual Conference & Expo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are excited to announce that registration is opening for NCRA Connect Virtual 2020, which promises to bring learning, fun, networking, and more to members and nonmembers whether they are court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, teachers, or students,” said NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of joining together to celebrate our profession and each other via this new virtual platform.”

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Only $60 for a student registration!

Subscribe TODAY!!

NCRA has an awesome student newsletter. NCRA’s online newsletter, Up-to-Speed, features insights and tips just for court reporting and captioning students. Check out the “Student Spotlight” and “Schools in the News” sections. Here is the link to subscribe and view past newsletters:
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NCRA has extended the deadline for applications and nominations for the following:

Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. If you know a dedicated court reporter or captioner who has contributed to the profession in a big way over the years, nominate that person as a Fellow. This prestigious recognition is a sign of your colleagues’ understanding of your special contributions to the fields of court reporting and captioning. Candidates must be active practitioners in the field and have at least 10 years of experience. Criteria for nomination include the publication of important papers, legislative or creative contributions to the field, and service on committees or boards.

CASE Educator of the Year. If there is a court reporting instructor who helped you in your career who remains unrecognized for his or her many contributions to the professions of court reporting and captioning, now is a great time to show your appreciation. Was there someone special who inspired you, who got you through the ups, downs, and plateaus of your court reporting classes? If a teacher was an incredible influence on you, consider nominating him or her for the CASE Educator of the Year Award.

CASE scholarships. Five scholarships are available. Students attending an NCRA-approved court reporting program and writing between 140 and 180 wpm are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Teachers and mentors encourage your students to apply. Let them know that you see their potential.

NCRA A to Z® scholarships. Up to 10 students will receive a $500 scholarship. Qualified applicants must have completed the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program as well as pass a skills test writing between 60 and 100 wpm, among other eligibility requirements.

The deadline for all nominations is June 1st.

NCRA CASE Student Scholarship

The Council on Approved Student Education (CASE) is pleased to announce that nominations are being solicited for the 2020 CASE Student Scholarship. Students from NCRA-approved reporter education programs are encouraged to apply for consideration of the five scholarship awards in the amounts of $250, $500, $750, $1000, and $1500.

This scholarship is offered through the NCRA. Students must meet the eligibility requirements and submit the completed application listed below to qualify for the scholarship. Notification of the CASE Scholarship is sent each February to all NCRA-approved court reporting programs.

To be eligible to apply for the CASE student scholarship, students must meet the criteria below:

  • Attend an NCRA-approved court reporting program;
  • Hold student membership in NCRA;
  • Have attained an exemplary academic record;
  • Have passed one skills test writing 140-180 words per minute at the time of submission.

The following documents are required to be submitted for application:

  • Speed verification form;
  • Three recommendation forms;
  • A copy of the student's most recent transcript;
  • An essay on a subject: What do you think makes you good at writing steno and what skill sets do you possess that you believe will help you build your career as a court reporter?

NCRA A to Z Scholarship

NCRA is giving 10 students a $500 scholarship this year. In order to be eligible for this wonderful opportunity, students must complete an NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, receive an NCRA A to Z Certificate of Completion, attain an exemplary academic record, and passed one skills test writing 60-100 words per minute at the time of submission. The application opens on February 12th and closes on April 1st.

The Veritext Court Reporting Student Scholarship

This Veritext Court Reporting Student Scholarship is awarded annually to a new or returning student seeking to learn stenography theory and to advance through training programs designed to help increase speed and achieve completion.

Horace Webb Scholarship

The National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) awards this scholarship to voice court reporting students. The application deadline is usually April 15. The 2020 application has not been posted yet.

Naegeli Deposition and Trial Scholarship Opportunity

If you are seeking additional financial assistance, this a great opportunity to earn money towards your education. Click the button below to read about how to apply to this wonderful scholarship!!!
Apply Today!!!

Applications are due July 1st 2020

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Welcome to The Guardian Version of the Job Drawer!


Natalie Kijurna, our Director of Alumni & Employer Relations, is happy to assist alumni with resumes, cover letters, and job placement. Please contact her with any questions.

For additional information, contact Natalie today!
(866) 294- 3974 ext. 229

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Director of Admissions

Nicky Rodriquez
(866) 294 - 3974 ext.222

Stay up to date with CCR events by following us on social media!

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