Carolyn Morris O’Connor was extraordinary in every respect. After graduating from James Madison University, she attended court reporting school in San Diego, California, from 1985 to 1988. She moved back to Richmond, Virginia, and quickly became one of the most requested and respected reporters in the area due to her proficiency, work ethic, and personality. She attained every certification offered by the NCRA at the time, her RPR, RMR, and CRR. She was also a CCR through the Virginia Court Reporters Association and served as a director on the board. Carolyn was always generous with her time and knowledge, mentoring new reporters, encouraging her peers, and never missing an opportunity to introduce the profession to prospective students and help attorneys understand how to better protect their record. She, like many reporters, struggled with work/life balance, but whatever she was doing at the time, she gave it her all. She was a loving wife and mother of two, always found time for her host of friends, and even ran marathons. Carolyn was a bright light for everyone who was lucky enough to encounter her, whether It was personally or professionally. She was always an advocate for court reporting. Her self-deprecating humor managed to put everyone at ease, and she always made you feel valued. Carolyn lost her battle with melanoma in 2011 at the age of 47. Her untimely death was a blow to all those who knew her. The Carolyn O’Connor Education Fund was established to memorialize all the ways she contributed to the profession and to assist and encourage those entering it.
How to Apply
In 2012 the VCRA received a request and several donations to start the Carolyn M. O'Connor Education Fund. During our Town Hall Meeting on March 9, 2013, we unveiled the Carolyn M. O'Connor Education Fund (COEF) application. Eligible applicants are students who have been actively engaged in the study of court reporting, either in a traditional school setting or through an online program, who have completed one semester of schooling and are currently registered in a program.
Other qualifications include: Applicants must have passed at least one of the court reporting program's tests at a minimum of 160 words per minute and have not previously won the award.
There are three steps to apply for the award:
The following guidelines will be used to judge applicants:
The recipient(s) of the award will receive a sum determined by the Education Fund Committee, not to exceed $1,000. Recipient(s) will be notified by February 15 of application year. Announcement of recipient(s) will be published in the VCRA newsletter. Recipient(s) will receive recognition at the Annual Convention/Ed Day. Recipient(s) will also receive free registration to attend the Annual Convention/Education Day and a one-year membership in the VCRA.
The COEF Application can be downloaded below, or you can e-mail the Executive Director and request a copy be sent to you.
If you would like to donate to the Carolyn O'Connor Education Fund in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone who is special to you, please make your check payable to the Carolyn O'Connor Education Fund and send to Executive Director, VCRA, PO Box 12317, Norfolk, VA 23541, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details of how to donate via credit card.