Essay Winners

"Why I Want to Become a Captioner"

Essay By:  Jeffrey Little

2009 Scholarship Winner

There was a day when my mom, who is hearing impaired and has to watch television with the closed captioning on, came to me with an article about closed captioning as a career. She mentioned something about learning court reporting, and using those skills to move into captioning.  I initially dismissed the idea, but as I continued to research careers, I decided to humor her and check it out.  To my surprise, the career sounded too good to be true, and everything I was looking for.

Another reason I became so interested in the field is that I was in a car accident two years ago, and severed my brachial artery.  This injury rendered me unable to move my thuimb.  This was very frustrating, but after six months of no motion in my thumb, it began to move.  A few weeks after that, I had full use of it again.  Having played guitar for many years, I greatly enjoy using my fingers.  The idea thatI could find a good, stable career using my fingers appealed to me greatly.

I researched court reporting and closed captioning, which ultimately led me to enroll in the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Indiana. My experience there has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I can feel that this is the career path that I'm meant to take.

"Why I Want to be a Captioner"

By:  Peggy Burgan

2009 Scholarship Winner

My aspiration is to have a career in broadcast captioning, helping deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers enjoy programming.

I've returned to school to finish what I started thirty five years ago.  Being young and impressionable (and broke), I listened to rumors that stenographers were to be replaced by computers.  I joined the Air Force, was a jet mechanic, married, had children, life took over, I blinked, and here I am, having done a full circle back to the machine.

I love the stenowriter!  Over the years, the machine stayed in my head.  Even though I'm now learning a whole new, more precise theory, I still love the machine.

It's exicting to see the scope of opportunities that have opened up for usage of this skill.  I should never have doubted that people would always be important to this ever-changing field.  I wish I had had the foresight to see that even with new technology on the horizon, people would always be part of it.  I do my best to encourage fellow students to stay focused, not lose heart, and not listen to negativity (external or internal), through this intense, demanding study period.  I try to help them see that this skill-developing time will only be a blip on the radar once they've graduated and are moving forward with their careers.

It's great challenging myself to stretch and step into such a colorful career field.  I've been blessed with a full, wonderful life, but I'm starting a new chapter now.  I look forward to being a competent 'writer' and seeing what unfolds.  I feel life's not a race, it's more like a marathon.  It's about the start, the journey, and the finish!

Why I Want To Be A Court Reporter

Essay by: Sherry Freeman

2008 Scholarship Award Winner


As I sit to reflect on where I am headed in life and whether retirement is in my future, a sickness fills my stomach.  I have been in my present career 21 years.  Now 38 years old, I realize I have a good five years until this career I have spent a lifetime building will begin declining.   With no benefits and only Social Security backing me, my retirement seems very bleak.

I need to get educated.  I need to obtain a new skill, and it needs to be a skill in high demand, with great benefits and a good retirement opportunity.  Is that really too much to ask?  Most people say, yes, it is too much to ask, and I am dreaming if I think I can find a new career at my age, one that I love and one that offers me everything I need for my future.

I am proud to say, “It is not too much to ask.”  I have chosen to become a court reporter.  I love working with people, the steno machine and having my independence.  Court reporters are in high demand.  The benefits are great and the retirement opportunities also look great.  The respect and rewards from court reporting are endless.  Knowing that I will be in constant demand is an awesome feeling.  I enjoy the networking, and friendships among the TCRA and NCRA members.  I have met a friend in every court reporter that has come my way.

Life has become much more exciting knowing I have a career in court reporting in my near future.

"Why I Want to Become a Court Reporter"

Essay By:  Serena White

2009 Scholarship Winner

There are so many goals that I have set for my life.  The top priority on the list is becoming a Court Reporter.

I used to be a legal secretary for a group of attorneys in downtown Memphis.  I saw my first Court Reporter in person while working there.  Every time I would schedule one for a deposition, they would come in with their equipment, and secure the record of the deposition.  I never could figure out how they were typing so fast.  The whole process fascinated me.  I thought why aren't I doing that?  I have to do that.  I don't want to be stuck behind a desk anymore; I want to do something important like that!  For two years I researched the Court Reporting Profession, wondering how I was going to get started.  I work full time, I have 3 kids, how can I get into it.  Then it just happened, I decided to go ahead and enroll in school, no matter how much sleep I was going to lose, how long the days were going to be between school, work, kids and husband, I decided, I want to be a Court Reporter and it will all be worth it in the end.

Becoming a Court Reporter is now something I dream about all night and think of all day.  What's it going to be like?  What will my schedule look like?  What will my clients be like?  So many questions run through my head day to day.  There is one question I never ask, and that's "How good will I be?" because I know I am going to put my heart in soul into it.  If there is one thing I have learned in life its, "What you  put in, you get out!" words I try to live by when it comes to work, school, my children, my health, everything.

Every week I jump on and just to see what's going on out there in the Court Reporting world.  I find it all so exciting.  I love reading all the articles about how and why other people became Court Reporters and how it has changed their lives.  Everything is so inspiring that I read.  I can tell that it's a group of professional intelligent individuals who care about their profession.  Which makes me want to become a Court Reporter even more.

Why do I want to become a Court Reporter?  I want to be a part of the judicial system.  I want to have a degree in a career that is so respected.  I want to have a career with great income potential.  I want to have a career where I have  independence.  I can't wait to obtain my certification in TN, and then go for more.   I'm even excited about setting up my office, setting up my reference library, ordering supplies and business cards.  I just know it will be a life-changing career that will better my family's quality of life.  And I am so lucky to have a husband and children that are supportive.  I know it is going to be a bumpy road getting there, but I'm going to get there.


Why I Still Want To Be A Captioner

Essay by:  Beverly Neal

2008 Scholarship Award Winner

When you tell someone you’re going to school to be a Broadcast Captioner, they either look at you with a blank stare or they just smile and nod, embarrassed to admit that they have no clue what you’re talking about.  I’ve even had one person reply, “Oh, you should be good at that; you have a nice voice.”  After explaining that Captioners are the people who type the words that show up on the television screen for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, they finally understand.  Captioning is just on of those professions that most people probably haven’t heard much about unless they’ve known someone who does it.  We’ve all seen the captioning on the screen, but we just don’t give much thought as to how it gets there.

I have to admit that before I started the program, I would have been one of these people.  I knew all about Court Reporters and their little machines, but I’d never seen or heard anything about Captioning and CART services.  The people providing these invaluable services seem to lead a low-key, quiet life, often going unnoticed.  Have they planned it that way in an attempt to keep this little jewel all to themselves?  Of course, for those of us looking to enter the field of Captioning or CART, this isn’t all bad.  It should certainly mean less competition when it actually comes time for us to find jobs.

But I think the time has come for Captioners and CART providers to stand up and be recognized for the work they do.  The service provided by these professionals is helping to connect those who might otherwise be shut off from the rest of the world.  They are making it possible for young people to attain their goals in education and for others to participate more fully in their jobs, as well as society in general.  To be a part of this is an exciting prospect.

Be warned, this challenging program is not for the faint of heart.  In fact, there should be caution signs all along the way warning those who are afraid of hard work to stand back, but with practice and perseverance we will make it through this program.  And when we do, let’s make a lot of noise and let the world know who we are and what we do!