Essay Winners

Dana Webb 3  
   President's Message
   By Dana Webb, TCRA President

 I cannot believe that this is my last President’s Message that I will write as your TCRA President.  It is truly bitter-sweet.  Bitter in that serving as President is a commitment, an obligation and, yes, a big responsibility, but yet sweet in that I have had the pleasure of being a part of seeing our association grow and at the same time had the honor and privilege of getting to know some of my fellow reporters on a totally different level.  So as I weigh the bitter-sweet, it is the sweet that gives me the ability to say I have absolutely loved serving in this role.

As I sit here reflecting over these past two years that I have served as the President of TCRA, I cannot help but think of the good times and many challenges that we have faced and are continuing to face as an organization.  My goal, two years ago, was to watch and help TCRA grow and for me to be able to pass down the gavel leaving our association in a better position than when I took the reins.  I truly believe that goal was reached and it was done in large part by the hard work of you, the members, and our TCRA board.

I have watched our organization grow stronger by the mere fact that our membership has come together and volunteered to serve in so many ways.  You guys have done this by embracing the A – Z Program, promoting our profession and encouraging students to enter in to the field of court reporting.  Just this week, TCRA and the profession of court reporting was promoted at the Day on the Hill in Nashville.  Thanks to Georgette Arena for heading this up, along with the many volunteers that helped make it happen.  It was truly a success!!

Our members have stepped up to the plate when we needed an extra push to make our conventions top notch.  Our members have stepped up and let your voices be heard when we faced struggles, such as the electronic recording in our state criminal courts, an issue that is still pressing and in need of solutions and continued input from TCRA. 

Yes, a lot has been accomplished but we still have many battles to fight and victories to be won with our profession.  Currently a new bill was introduced through the legislature to increase pay for court reporters in our criminal courts, which is a good thing; however we still have a few issues with the bill.  Additionally, where does our profession stand in light of the AI community snipping at our heels, an issue we still need to be diligent and proactive to address and be aware of.   I say all of that to say, and to add a final note, step up, continue to be a part of TCRA, volunteer, get involved, help make a difference.  Experience the bitter-sweet when you are asked to volunteer. 

In closing, it truly has been an honor and privilege to serve as your president.  I will be moving on to my role as past president on the board and working hand-in-hand with the new president.  And while I transition out, it is still my continued hope and prayer that TCRA continues to prosper and that the court reporting profession continues to flourish for the many generations to come behind us. 


Dana Webb

P.S.  Don’t forget our convention is right around the corner on April 26th and 27th in Chattanooga.  We are so excited about this convention and we look forward to seeing you all there.  Be on the lookout for blasts to help with auction donations or to sign up for our “First Annual Speed Contest”.  Please read the rest of the newsletter for much more information about what’s going on with TCRA.




"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 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 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.