‘The court system will not work without you’: Five students graduate from inaugural court reporter program
Forrest Co., Miss. (WLBT) - Five students are gearing up to obtain their court reporter certification after recently graduating from the inaugural court reporter program at Pearl River Community College.
A ceremony was held to honor the students recently at the Forrest County Chancery Courthouse.
Speakers included several judges, as well as a veteran court reporter, who encouraged the students as they take their next steps, obtaining their court reporter certification.
“Be confident that you can and will become certified,” court reporter Twila Jordan-Hoover said.
Hoover, who led efforts to start the program at PRCC, said the graduates now have to prove they can meet certain requirements, including typing 225 words per minute, which is needed to accurately record testimonies and depositions during legal proceedings.
Once they’re certified, the new reporters likely will have little trouble finding employment.
There are currently 282 reporters who are licensed to practice in the state. That is nearly 100 fewer than there were a decade ago.
Meanwhile, the average age of court reporters in Mississippi is 55, with 25 percent being between 61 and 70 years old.
“The court system will not work without you,” said Mississippi Judicial College Director Randy Pierce. “There is a need that you will fill... You don’t know how much the judicial branch needs you, but you soon will find out.”
The program’s first graduates are non-traditional students, who come from diverse backgrounds.
Four of the five have children and jobs that they worked around to complete their studies, including Alicia Miller of Magee.
Miller started training as a court reporter more than 17 years ago on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina interrupted those plans and the small class she started in did not resume. She later worked as a sales associate for a cell service provider and is now a stay-at-home mom.
Other graduates include Jessie Morgan Ponder Anglin, of Mount Olive, Candace Cooley of Waynesboro, Amanda Barnes Hernandez of Eatonville, and Felicia Jackson of Hattiesburg.
Court reporters are professional stenographers who record, transcribe, and create an official record of court proceedings. There is a shortage of certified court reporters, as retirements have outpaced new people coming into the profession, according to a release from the Administrative Office of Courts.
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