After years of delay and anticipation, I am pleased to say our “Roaring 20’s” convention at the beautiful Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg was a tremendous success! The court reporting community in the Commonwealth of Virginia were finally able to come together and celebrate our profession, and what a celebration it was!
Festivities began with VCRA’s first ever speed and realtime contest. I want to commend all the brave reporters who took this challenge! Michele Eddy and Juan Garcia proctored the tests, consisting of realtime Q&A at 225 wpm and a speed contest at 280 wpm. In the end, Gwenda Applegate won the realtime contest with 96.56 percent accuracy. Tori Pittman took the speed contest with 99.25 percent accuracy. Congratulations to you both!
Following the speed contest, Kristina Tan kicked of the informative weekend with a fun showcase of gadgets and tech tips to make our day run just a little bit smoother. After that, it was time for our long-awaited (seriously, some members bought their costumes two years ago!) Speak Easy Welcome Reception. While we’ve all made the best of our virtual socials and educational events over the past couple years, it was so refreshing to finally be face to face with all our friends and colleagues from across the Commonwealth.
Saturday and Sunday continued the trend of good food and great speakers. My head is still spinning a little bit from Mark Kislingbury’s incredible four-hour presentation! I hope everyone has been able to incorporate some of what he showed us. Jim DeCrescenzo followed up with a thought-provoking presentation about ASR and what it means for our profession. He also spoke about Project Steno and bringing young people into court reporting. Michele Eddy and NCRA President Debbie Dibble capped off an amazing weekend on Sunday with powerful and informative speeches. Michele gave a look into realtime, comparing the available options and providing her expert insight. And Debbie had us all laughing at her anecdotes as she encouraged us to stay motivated and keep working hard.
Pulling off a convention like this is a team effort, and I want to commend all the board members who made this weekend possible – some of whom have already left the board, given the extended delay. I’d also like to thank Donna Linton for two dedicated years as president of the VCRA. I extend a special congratulations to Leslie Etheredge, recipient of this year’s Tayloe Award and now officially enjoying the title of “past president.” Leslie and Donna led the VCRA through a truly unique and challenging period, and you both did a great job!
Court Reporting & Captioning Week was February 5th through 12th this year, and VCRA went all-out! In addition to receiving a proclamation from the Governor for yet another year, the VCRA produced a short, informative video entitled "What on Earth does this say?" promoting greater appreciation of our profession. The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/OH-K3cnXOJw. We also held the We LOVE Our Members Online Social, a fun-filled hour of games and prize giveaways. Finally, the VCRA took out ad space in Virginia Lawyers Weekly directing readers to our website with information about CRCW and the video we produced.
Earlier this year, the VCRA established a new 501(c)(3) called the Virginia Court Reporters Foundation (VCRF). This new organization, while independent, will work alongside the VCRA and provide greater flexibility to fundraise and advance educational efforts for verbatim reporting in Virginia. As a first act, the VCRF held an online silent auction during VCRA’s convention in Lynchburg to benefit the Carolyn M. O'Connor Education Fund (COEF). The online auction was a huge success, bringing in over $1,400. Thank you to all the donors and bidders!
This is going to be a great year for the VCRA. We will focus on increasing our numbers and adding value to your membership. And as always, the VCRA will be a zealous advocate for court reporters in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCRA is an organization that consistently punches above its weight, and it’s thanks to the dedicated people that serve on its board and committees.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank you all for trusting me to lead this organization for the next year. It’s truly an honor.
Christopher D. Reho, RPR, CCR