Laney Fox

Deaf Smith, The Texas Spy, History, Alamo, Captioning, CART, and Laney Fox

Deaf Smith, The Texas Spy, History, Alamo, Captioning, CART, and Laney Fox
By Monette Benoit

Copyright 2007 by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

I first learned about Deaf Smith in 1993 when I entered Deaf culture as a realtime court reporter, CARTing, captioning to large screens for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.

I was stunned I did not know about this daring, bold hero of the Alamo. My Deaf friends simply shrugged, “It’s because you’re hearing.” As an educator, CART Captioner, and private tutor with strong roots within Texas, I immediately phoned my mother when I could to ask, “How did I miss that?”

Many people in Texas trace their family lines back to the Texas Revolution.

The Alamo (which means “cottonwood” in Spanish) was surrounded by General Santa Anna with 3,000 troops. Colonial Travis sent an appeal to help 188 patriots inside the fortress. Thirty-two men and boys from Gonzales, Texas, marched 90 miles, crossing Mexican Army lines to enter the besieged Alamo.

I am a descendant of a “Gonzales Fighter.”

Dolphin Ward Floyd left a nine-month pregnant wife and four-year old son – knowing he would not come back.

He was murdered within the Alamo on March 6, 1836, on his thirty-second birthday. Floyd County is named after his sacrifice; his widow received a land grant. My longhorn-ranching Gonzales, cousins Rufus and Raquet Floyd, shared facts, stories and lore that have passed from generations, as did my mother.

Yet I never knew about Deaf Smith until 1993.

As a court reporter, while providing CART (communication access realtime translation) at a Deaf banquet at the Lone Star Brewery, downtown San Antonio, with the sun setting, wind blowing, children playing cowboys and Indians (in full costume) around my one-legged large screen and my husband kneeling to hold that screen with two hands – there – I learned about a fearless Deaf soldier who crossed enemy lines to read lips changing history as we know it.

Erastus Smith was born in New York on April 19, 1787.

Born hearing, Smith became deaf as a child; later he was called Deaf Smith. In 1821, Deaf Smith moved near San Antonio. He married Mexican widow Guadalupe Ruiz Duran in 1822; they had four daughters.

Smith first joined Stephen F. Austin’s Texas Republican Army in Gonzales after a Mexican soldier denied Smith permission to visit his wife and family near the start of the Texas Revolution.

Smith used his deafness to gather intelligence as a courier and military spy. In October 1835, Smith was wounded in battle. General Sam Houston soon promoted Smith to captain.

The Texas army retreated with Santa Anna in pursuit after the 11-day Alamo battle. All the bodies at the Alamo were burned by Santa Anna’s 1,300 man-army. Three weeks later in Goliad, Santa Anna ordered the massacre of 300 prisoners from the Battle of Coleto Creek.

San Jacinto’s battle was forty-six days after the Alamo. (My dad took my mother to the San Jacinto battlefield on their first date. I still tease my mother, “And you went on a second date?”)

Deaf Smith, soldier, scout, guide, was instrumental in the defeat of Santa Anna and the Mexican Army when Deaf Smith informed General Houston about Vince’s Bridge – the path of retreat or support for both sides near San Jacinto. Smith was ordered to destroy Vince’s Bridge. The Mexican army, unable to retreat, was trapped after Vince’s Bridge burned. Houston led 800 volunteers against Santa Anna’s 1300-man Mexican Army.

Shouting “Remember The Alamo! Remember Goliad!” Texans killed 630 Mexican soldiers, captured Santa Anna and ended the war. Texas lost eight volunteers and was liberated from Mexico at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836. Texas won independence from Mexico to become an independent republic, October 22, 1836.

After the war, Deaf Smith remained active and led a company of Texas Rangers.

Mrs. Deaf Smith was profiled in my NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, JCR ‘Beyond The Comfort Zone’ column when Laney Fox-Smith wrote about her performance in the Ms. Deaf Texas pageant. Laney shares how she researched the role.

Laney Fox-Smith:

When I started thinking what to do for my talent for the 2001 Ms. Deaf Texas, I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t sing or dance! I wanted something special that was originally from Texas. I researched Deaf Culture to see if there was anything related to Texas. Then I came across Erastus “Deaf” Smith, a Deaf hero from Texas. While researching history for Erastus ‘Deaf’ Smith, I learned that a county in Texas is named after Deaf Smith.

As I studied history, I learned about Deaf Smith’s family. He married a Mexican widow, and they had four children. That was when I decided to dress as his wife with traditional Mexican clothing. I went downtown to San Antonio’s El Mercado and bought a green Mexican skirt and white top. My hair was braided so I looked like a Mexican woman from the 1800s! I had an excellent tutor, Brain Barwise, who helped me prepare my presentation in ASL, American Sign Language.

During Miss Deaf Texas for my talent, I performed a factual story, a poem I wrote, on how Deaf Smith was brave to infiltrate within the Mexican camp to determine military strategies and to help Texas win the battle. Deaf Smith had a keen sense of what was happening, so he was able to learn where the Mexicans were going to move next.

I learned that Deaf Smith became deaf after birth due to childhood disease. I became deaf around 9 months old. My parents think that it was due to a 103 degree fever; my father put me into a tub of ice to get my fever down. I am profoundly deaf; I wonder if I would have any hearing if he had not put me into the tub.

I learned Smith initially did not want to get involved with the wars; he didn’t want to pick sides. Unfortunately, he was forced to pick a side after the Mexicans refused to let him enter San Antonio to visit his wife and daughters. Then Smith joined forces with General Sam Houston.

Researching historical records, Deaf Smith seems to be a fair and neutral person. When I spoke to people originally from Mexico about the Texan Revolution, they tell me Texas was stolen from them. I can understand from their perspective; it was originally Mexico. I learned Deaf Smith was an excellent scout. He knew shortcuts, which later helped him to defeat the Mexican forces. He died November 30, 1837; his Richmond monument says “Deaf Smith, The Texas Spy.”

I think that once someone loses a sense, his other senses become stronger. Even though I do not hear well, I am able to see better in my peripheral vision and be more observant of my surroundings. Erastus Smith mastered lip reading in both English and Spanish. This is quite a feat! I am still learning to master English with lip-reading skills!

Many people aren’t aware that English has a lot of phonemes, which represents sound. A Lamar University professor stated English itself is 80 percent phonemical, which is very difficult on deaf people. We rely on content to see the difference between moat and boat, which looks identical on the lips. Many English words appear similar on the lips. I have heard that an effective lip-reader understands only 40 percent of what is said. I believe that statistic because if I had to rely on lip reading alone (without my hearing aid), I would be more lost.

It is really important for me to use my hearing aid to hear the difference between moat and boat. So, I was very impressed when I learned Deaf Smith lip-read two languages!

My husband is currently a Spanish instructor. When I have seen him speak Spanish, I am lost. I understand only basic Spanish words (hola, como estas? and muy bien). I have watched the actors and actresses in Spanish soap operas; their lips are moving so fast! It seems like Spanish is a fast language!

Erastus “Deaf” Smith is truly a chameleon to learn dual languages and to become a hero for the Deaf!

Monette adds: And for the hearing, too.

Monette, the Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?

“Get ‘ER Done In Just One” – as evidenced by the many students and professionals who study Court Reporter Reference Books to pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials are listed online, www.CRRbooks.com.

** Pedagogically sound covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information.

The “Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Test Prep Textbook, 6th Edition” has greatly expanded testing tips, testing focus, NCRA COPE Ethics specific details, grammar sections, plus — legal, Latin, court, English, grammar, vocabularly, medical, and computer chapters. www.CRRbooks.com

The “Test Prep Set” includes four volumes – each listed on www.CRRbooks.com

Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=61

Did You Know: You can accelerate your career with private tutoring and career coaching? Court reporting veteran Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.

Tutoring and career coaching topics include:
• Motivational skills to keep you moving forward,
• Time-management skills,
• Process learning for more effective retention,
• Development of skills to author your book, your blog, and how to publish,
• Communication skills, daily interaction improvement skills, and much more.

Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, create new possibilities, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice,
• Students or veterans who have begun to question their career or whether they’re on the “right track” …

Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching
http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=29

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, can help you achieve at much high levels.

Where do you want to go? ** What have you ‘really’ wanted to do with your career, and ultimately, your life?

* No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!

About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.

She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. Bring it. * Bring it today!

26 Aug 2008

Laney’s Universe; Always An Adventure, CART, Captioning

Laney’s Universe; Always An Adventure, CART, Captioning – 2003
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Each year, for three years, I’ve written about Laney Fox. I am a court reporter, CART provider, instructor, private tutor, coach, who has had the honor of working and laughing with Laney Fox.

We met “in the trenches” when Trinity University requested classroom CART services, communication access realtime translation (voice-to-text) services for Latin. (Many people also refer to serve this classroom CART as ‘captioning’ by captionists.)

Laney entered her class after I had arrived. I am a court reporter, instructor and tutor. I introduced myself on my laptop screen, using my steno machine.

No, I did not know Latin.

The only Spanish I knew (working in criminal court as a court reporter) was: “Guilty or Not Guilty? Have a seat over there.”

Prior to receiving CART, Laney attended all her classes as ‘oral deaf’, reading teachers’, students’ lips.

As a college student, she lived in the dorm for three years, sharing many experiences with me. Her roommates were not deaf.

Some events are comical, as she ‘is’ deaf. Others are typically normal. My favorites? I can’t share, but I’ve had lots of giggles, listening.

When we first met, though, deaf since childhood, Laney had enrolled in a sign language class to ‘better understand’ deaf culture.

She spoke during NCRA’s (National Court Reporters Association) San Antonio convention. Laney was my guest at the NCRF fundraiser when Laurel Eiler, NCRA president, arranged for a hypnotist to entertain guests. Reporters graciously moved away from the center, first row, so Molly Sheridan could interpret. (Laney could not read lips when ‘backs’ were turned to the audience; Laney’s ‘choice’ was an ASL interpreter.)

She’s volunteered to help children, elderly, deaf, HOH (Hard of Hearing), and Laney’s love for animals initially directed her towards pre-med vet studies.

Laney Fox competed in the Miss Deaf Texas Beauty Pageant and was first runner-up.

As I tease her, no dust collects on Laney’s sneakers.

We keep in touch via email, data beepers, friends, interpreters, special events.

We had not seen other in a while, and we met for lunch. When I arrived, Laney was outside, arms extended, gesturing. A mature man was to her left. Two men wearing faded cowboy hats, dusty blue jeans and mud-caked boots, stood near Laney. I parked, sprinted to Laney.

She pointed to the man: “He hit my car!”

I looked to the two men, tilting my head.

Laney said, “I want to know what they’re staring at!”

I roared with laughter; they departed.

The man who ‘hit’ her car was attempting to leave, without stopping. He repeated: “I didn’t do any damage.”

Laney, red-faced, clearly upset, clearly did not share his opinion. I ‘signed’ (ASL) to her, spoke to him.

He did not want to write his name, address.

Finally, I said to the man wearing a hearing aid in each ear: “She’s deaf. Let’s let her parents decide what needs to be done here.”

His reply, “Oh, I didn’t know ‘that’!” He complied with my request. Then he exited, in his car, via the ‘entrance’.

Laney and I rolled our eyes, entered the restaurant, arm-in-arm.

After a wonderful lunch, Laney stood first.

A man approached behind her saying, “excuse me”, several times. Then he exhaled loudly.

I remembered not to roll my eyes, smiled, softly said, “She’s deaf.”

He replied, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

I answered, “That’s okay. It’s not your fault.” Laney and I howled.

I told Laney I was going to put the ‘stupid zone’ comments in this article; she agreed.

At our cars, the waitress ran toward Laney: “Here’s your keys! You won’t get far without these!” She held Laney’s car keys high into the air.

I shook my head, teasingly slapped Laney. As usual, ‘moments’, any occasion, and lunching with Laney is never boring.

I am eagerly looking forward to your graduation party, Laney. I know it won’t be dull or uneventful.

Thank you for sharing with NCRA. Thank you for permitting me to ‘collect’ memories, moments, I can hold close to my heart. I am so proud of you.

And you still owe me money for all the parking meters when you did not bring ‘change’.

It’s truly been a privilege to have provided CART for you and also to have been befriended by you, Laney Fox, my adventurous friend.

Laney’s 2003 update:

“I recently saw Monette. We chatted, dined and laughed. It was wonderful to see her. We had not seen each other for months. But I felt honored that Monette asked me to type up something for her national NCRA JCR, Journal of Court Reporting, column, article. I just dyed/trimmed my hair tonight and I feel ‘new!’

“This past summer I had a volunteer internship at DeafWay (an international conference), which was such an enriching experience! I flew to Washington D.C. and stayed with friends for two weeks.

“I opted to volunteer 40-something hours, which meant that I had to get up at 6 A.M. to get on the subway, to arrive to the location at 7 A.M. I stayed up every night, meeting new people from all over the world! I learned how to communicate with other people who did not speak English. I gestured, motioned and pointed to try to get my points clearly.

“It is amazing on how two people from differing cultures are able to find something in common with each other by conversing for several minutes. I attended multiple panels. I learned such an array of diverse information. I also watched international plays, which gave me opportunities to see their own ‘world’ from their performances. I attended museums. This afforded me a greater knowledge of deaf history.

“However, one of my best experiences at DeafWay is when I volunteered all day to help people to ‘know their way around’. I realized that nearly 10,000 deaf people had come across the world to ‘bond’ with others, and I am proud that I was part of this unique experience.

“Now I am taking 15 hours at Trinity University (and night classes at SAC, San Antonio College, for sign language and I’m learning Spanish!).

“I have remote CART for most of my university classes. I have onsite CART for Greek. Wow, I must have given the CARTers a run for their money when they had to CART for Latin (for my first three years) and now Greek (for my senior year).

“It was a challenge for each of us, Monette and I, to work together as a team for Latin. When I enrolled in Greek, I was fortunate, since the CARTer for my class had already worked with a student in a Greek class. It always helps when the CARTer is familiar with the language!

“I am currently volunteering at the San Antonio Southwest Biomedical Center. I am with the Enrichment Program. We are constantly trying to find ways to improve the quality of the primates’ lives. I aid by observating, building enrichment items and analyzing the data. This volunteer position has been very educational because I am able to determine whether I want to work in this field.

“Last year, I worked in the San Antonio Zoo as an aid to the zookeepers. These volunteering internships are always helpful to me; each allows me to experience their jobs temporarily.

“After I graduate, I am planning to take the GRE and to volunteer part-time. I will probably take a couple classes at a community college. I am thinking about taking carpentry! I need to know how to build a birdhouse (or a bathouse?), so I may take the class. I’ll let you know if the birds accept my birdhouse. (smile)

“Now, after all these volunteering experiences, I am planning to apply to the Peace Corps and Americorps for two years. I have always loved volunteering. I would be thrilled if I could head down to Africa for two years, but we’ll see how everything goes. Wish me luck!”

Monette — PS: Two days after I submitted this article to my NCRA JCR editor, I ‘beeped’ Laney to remind her that “Survivor” would be televised one evening prior to its usual schedule. We have been watching Christy Smith, the oral deaf contestant.

Laney responded immediately: “Thanks for letting me know, Monette. I locked myself out of my car … but it is such a wonderful day. Are you taking a break now? Go for a walk. Hugs.”

This young lady often reminds me to stop my ‘busy-world’, to eat properly and to not work so hard. With the Iraq war starting today and the state of events around the world, I believe we all need a person like Laney Fox who can share such pure moments in realtime. And, yes, I did go that walk. Thanks for the reminder, Laney.

Monette may be contacted: Tutoring@CRRbooks.com


Monette, the Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?

“Get ‘ER Done In Just One” – as evidenced by the many students and professionals who study Court Reporter Reference Books to pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials are listed online, www.CRRbooks.com.

** Pedagogically sound covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information.

The “Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Test Prep Textbook, 6th Edition” has greatly expanded testing tips, testing focus, NCRA COPE Ethics specific details, grammar sections, plus — legal, Latin, court, English, grammar, vocabularly, medical, and computer chapters. www.CRRbooks.com

The “Test Prep Set” includes four volumes – each listed on www.CRRbooks.com

Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=61

Did You Know: You can accelerate your career with private tutoring and career coaching? Court reporting veteran Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.

Tutoring and career coaching topics include:
• Motivational skills to keep you moving forward,
• Time-management skills,
• Process learning for more effective retention,
• Development of skills to author your book, your blog, and how to publish,
• Communication skills, daily interaction improvement skills, and much more.

Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, create new possibilities, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice,
• Students or veterans who have begun to question their career or whether they’re on the “right track” …

Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching
http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=29

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, can help you achieve at much high levels.

Where do you want to go? ** What have you ‘really’ wanted to do with your career, and ultimately, your life?

* No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!

About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.

She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. Bring it. * Bring it today!

22 Aug 2008

Hear’s Laney: 2007 CART and Captioning Update


Hear’s Laney: 2007 CART and Captioning Update
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.


May 2000, my NCRA
JCR, Journal of Court Reporting, column ran Mark Cuss Said to the Nymphs, “The phone rang Friday, 2:30. ‘Would you realtime a class? We need you Monday. It started two months ago. Oh, it’s Latin.’ Monday morning, the university student arrived, looked at me, my equipment near her seat, and stopped. I wrote, ‘My name is Monette. I’ve been asked to help you. Today will be the worst day. We’ll work as a team. I promise I’ll get better.’ I began Latin; Callisto and nymphs were having a metamorphosis over the birth of Arcas, Juno and constellations …”

June 2000, I detailed Laney’s Latin: Hearing Not Required about Laney’s experiences as an oral deaf college student, learning sign language, receiving CART. Born hearing, Laney became deaf at 13 months. She mainstreamed in fourth grade after nine years of oral education. I knew more sign language, deaf culture than she when we met. Oh, how I enjoyed watching Laney’s world expand; her responses receiving CART. I also introduced Laney to deaf in San Antonio, my friends, companions. They loved her!

March 2002, Laney’s Luminous Life profiled Laney becoming Miss Deaf Texas First Runner-Up. I was in Florida, a sign interpreter in San Antonio phoned, reading text messages from deaf onsite, all realtime updates, as Laney competed in Austin. We ooh-ed and ahhh-ed as a team while she competed. Laney portrayed the wife of Deaf Smith, who lived in San Antonio, assisted Sam Houston in his victory with in Battle of San Jacinto, immediately after Alamo battle.

June 2003, Laney: Always An Adventure featured Laney as she graduated, volunteering with DeafWay, the zoo, observing primates and goals become a veterinarian. Each article is listed www.CRRbooks.com per Laney.

‘Hear’ we are, 2007. One Monday morning, here in Texas, there was an email from Laney. I just knew this email would be entertaining.

“Hi, Monette! I often wonder how you are! I’m married to a wonderful man, Tim Smith. I have so much to tell you; we bought a house. I’m learning about remodeling. I learned how to take laminated floor off and how to add them.

I’m working as a teacher, completing my second year! I’m hoping to become a school counselor, but I must teach three years. I will teach another year, then head to Gallaudet University to get an Educational Counseling degree. That may be my second masters! That’s my plan.

I have a Masters in Deaf Education from Lamar University. My husband has a Masters in Modern Language. I’m actually using sign now since I’m a teacher at a school for the deaf.

I met Tim at Camp Summit. Tim oversaw all male unit leaders/counselors. He wanted to learn sign language; I was happy to be his tutor.

I found you, Monette, when I Googled myself. I was surprised to see my name on an ASL university site talking about Deaf Smith. The author discovered I performed a poem on Deaf Smith for my Ms. Deaf Texas talent. This was pretty ironic because I dressed up to be Mrs. Deaf Smith. Now my last name is Fox-Smith. Who would have thought I would have Smith in my name? Then, I came across your articles. I realized how much I missed talking to you!

Here is my update: We married May 26, 2006; we eloped. Monday we decided to marry that Friday. We called our families about date, time. My family drove Friday afternoon to see us married in a courthouse. We loved the stress-free environment!

Let me rewind and give you an update since Trinity University. I graduated May 2003. (Laney and I wrote an update after her graduation.)

A friend encouraged me to go to Camp Summit. I was hired as “unit leader.” I met Tim there. I fell in love, moving to Dallas with him. I looked for a job, worked as a substitute teacher.

I received a job offer from Texas School for the Deaf, TSD (Austin), to work as a teacher aide. I decided this would be a good experience for me, so we began a long-distance relationship.

I lived in Austin with a friend. There I worked with an amazing teacher in the Special Needs Department! I decided I wanted to become a teacher.

I was accepted by Lamar University. I attended Lamar for about one year and a half taking as many courses as I could. I got lucky, received a rare summer internship! I worked at the National Deaf Academy in Mount Dora, Florida! What an amazing experience working with special children for ten weeks.

Tim visited; he fell in love with that town. I received a possible job offer, but there wasn’t any university nearby. Tim wanted to continue teaching. Instead we went back to Austin; I graduated August 2005.

I went back to TSD to work as a teacher! It was a good year for me. I was with Tim, seeing old faces at TSD. I met teacher aids who told me they wanted to become teachers. I told them they could become certified teachers within a year and half! In fact, I encouraged one deaf teacher aide now attending Lamar. We always need more deaf teachers, so that was really cool! To share my story and experience with another and inspire them to go back to school was really rewarding.

Tim and I moved to be close to his work (college instructor). We bought a house.

Tim proposed Christmas Eve. I kinda knew right before he proposed because he got all formal. He was like “when I first met you …” I knew instantly. I couldn’t wait until he finished. I wanted him to finish what he was saying, so I felt I had to pretend I didn’t know what he was doing! I got all nervous! I was sorta in shock. “Wow, he proposed to me …” Of course, the answer was yes. He proposed while hiking at a park. We love the outdoors.

Now I work at a charter school. I teach 4th/5th math, 7th math, 8th math, 3rd/6th/7th Language Arts (LA), 10th LA, and 9th LA. It is really nice to work with deaf. I have hearing students, as well.

I am getting more and more involved with the deaf community. My main communication now is usually sign. I talk to Tim with my voice; Tim signs back, which is pretty funny!

People watching get confused who is deaf or hearing! Recently, a cashier thought I was hearing, Tim was deaf. She talked to me, so I would interpret to Tim. I turned to my husband asking him what she said. Tim interpreted for me. It was really funny to see her expression!

I also tutor, teaching sign. One student decided to quit work, return to college to become an interpreter! I told her about CART; she hasn’t seen CART in action yet. But I hope that she will be open-minded about interpreters and CART like you are! It is important to have everyone working together as a family!

Monette: Next we’ll share more with another article and add Erastus Smith, aka, Deaf Smith, huge hero in deaf culture – especially in Texas. We’re family, and Laney is off to the library tonight, Monday, after work, to ensure we have all details correct.

Monette may be contacted: Tutoring@CRRbooks.com

21 Aug 2008

Mark Cuss Said To The Nymphs – CARTing Latin Classes

Mark Cuss Said To The Nymphs – CARTing Latin Classes
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

The phone rang Friday at 2:30.
“Would you realtime, CART, a class? We need you Monday morning. It started two months ago. Oh, it’s Latin.”

As an experienced court reporter, instructor, tutor, I’m not lucky enough to get math or physics.
The university request was for two semesters. I’d get a textbook Monday. I gulped, accepting the opportunity in 1999.

On Monday morning the student arrived, looked at me and my equipment near her seat, and stopped.
I wrote on my computer, “My name is Monette. I’ve been asked to help you. Today will be the worst day I write. I don’t have a textbook yet. We’ll work as a team. I promise I’ll get better.”

The teacher began class.
I began Latin.

I kid you not, my first day, the start of my first class: Callisto and the nymphs were having a metamorphosis over the birth of Arcas, Juno and the constellations and Mark Cuss (sic) said to the nymphs …

I’ve receive so many requests for information on how to write, how to CART, Latin. I tease: one prefix, root word, suffix at a time, and lots of fingerspelling. And somehow it translates – well, almost.

That day as each student read, translating sentences, learning declensions and tenses, I stroked sounds.
When each student spoke Latin, I wrote, “Student Speaking Latin.”

Later I heard a gasp, and my consumer pointed to my realtime screen.
I’d written: “Speaking Spanish.” (I had just finished CARTing to two large screens in one large room, five days for a large international Latino convention.)

I shook my head and wrote, “No, I just drifted.
It’s still Latin.”

Immediately, in realtime, mortified, I erased those words from the screen.

But she and I got the giggles. Having begun our team building, we were now in the trenches together.

Writing this article, I asked the consumer’s permission to share how I (try to) realtime Latin.

Laney Fox, toes tapping and filled with energy, insisted on sharing.
Laney is deaf, raised oral deaf, and is now learning sign language.

We communicate with realtime, lipreading, sign language and gestures. Somehow it works. At the end of class I give her a rough ASCII disk (verbatim translation) of the entire class. Sometimes I’m reluctant to share it, but we’ve built a strong team communicating with each other and working with the university, instructor.

To provide CART (communication access realtime translation – voice-to-text)
in this Latin class, I sit next to Laney with my computer on her desk. We share her text. I point to a selection if a student’s reading. If someone says a word I don’t know, I make a signed hand gesture (usually ASL), and Laney pushes the book to me (we’re sharing a desk for right-handed people; both of us are left-handed). I search for the word, fingerspell it and keep writing.

If the student’s reading from the book, I write, “Reading Latin” and point in the book as the student reads each word. (She likes to follow the class; this is her preference.)

If the student asks a question, I realtime each word to appear on the computer screen. When the professor gives explanations or references, I realtime each word.

Laney makes notes in the text and a notebook and reads my computer screen.
As I learn more Latin (actually, sounds), I’m stitching words together. When she’s called upon, Laney translates Latin to English. She answers and asks questions. I stroke Latin phrases.

Sometimes Laney asks, “How do you pronounce that?”

The professor answers in Latin.

I phonetically stroke the word with spaces between sounds.
She watches my phonetic translation and reads the word. (I always hold my breath.)

Initially I’d entered sounds in my dictionary when I was preparing to realtime. (I have CARTed to a large screen for St. Francis Di Paola, a Catholic Deaf mass, and various religious, interesting events since 1993.)

Preparing for religious events, I placed sounds with my asterick key, globaling strokes, so when I hit specific keys, they appear as phonetic, English sounds. I now can fingerspell a word faster than stroking it, but when it’s Latin, I have to rely on phonetics.

Sounds help me to help Laney in a Latin university setting at Trinity University.

Laney Fox shares, “Many people think it’s rude to correct a deaf person’s speech. It may be rude for strangers to do that, but after forming a relationship, I think it’s perfectly nice for someone to try to help out a deaf person’s speech. I know many vocabulary words. I simply don’t know how to pronounce them; English is one odd language. The words pronounced do not look the way they are written.”

One weekend I traveled to speak to a state court reporting convention. On my way back, Sunday afternoon, the airplane was canceled. I traveled all night to arrive in San Antonio with only minutes to get to class straight from the airport. I had on yesterday’s clothes.

I wrote, “This is not gonna be pretty; I’ve not slept in two days.”

Laney said, “You don’t have to be good today. It’s OK.”

My heart sang. This is why I do this. I worked so hard to “be good” for Laney.

After class, she said, “You were much better than I thought you were going to be.
You were ‘good’ today.”

I sighed and placed my forehead down on the tiny desk on top of my warm computer.

Laney says, “I was so surprised to see Monette come in, telling me she was traveling all night.
I would have stayed home and let her go through a class, clueless. After that, I learned her dedication to my involvement in Latin.”

If you want to provide this service, make sure you have a phonetic dictionary you can stroke.
Become a confident fingerspeller. Build a rapport with the consumer and teacher. We’ve had challenges. But we’ve worked with gestures, signals and me asking, “Does this make sense?”

Listen for vents that open and close.
External sounds interfere when students answer around your seat. Make sure you can hear everyone – front, back and to the side.

Don’t be afraid to tell the class when you have problems.
If you can’t hear, others probably can’t hear.

Insist on faculty parking (since we haul heavy equipment, wear and tear dragging our equipment that is bumping over pavement may affect your computer, steno machine). You must have a text and all handouts.

I write all external sounds – sneezing, coughing, birds, stomachs grumbling. I am her ears. If I hear it, I write it.

Keep a sense of humor.
Two months into the course, I phoned my dad. Emmett was raised in Jesuit schools, was an altar boy and graduated from Fordham University. He loves Latin.

When I told him about this assignment, he said, “You are in way over your head.”


I laughed and said, “Nope.
Gonna do this one, do it well. I’m going to work hard, but I’m going to do this.”

So when I phoned to ask, “What is Ovid, Ovidian?”
He howled.

Emmett said, “That’s the author of the huge orange text you’re carrying around.
Haven’t you even looked at the cover?”

I laughed, “Nope, been everywhere else, but not the cover.”

After each class I look to Laney. She’s so forgiving and understanding.
You must explain how and why words do not translate; why “funnies” pop up. She smirks and giggles when “stuff” appears.

Laney, “I love when we translate Latin stories in class.
It’s fun to watch Monette. She frantically waves her arms when she can’t hear. I just love the energy to get me into class discussion.”

If I’d been told I’d be CARTing, realtiming, Latin and giving a rough ASCII verbatim disk to someone in a university classroom, I’d have never believed it.
Not in a million years.

But now Marcus, those nymphs, the etymology of Latin with dative, conjugative, ablative, pluperfect, passive prosody applying to dactylic hexameter with basic rules of syntax trans – well, almost.


And it was just my luck to get a Latin honors students with whom I could expand my skills and learn so much about her world.

Today someone asked me how I was doing.
I said, “I feel like a character on the I Love Lucy shows.”

The lady replied, “Without the soundtrack?”


Yeah – without the “sound-track”.
But I’m looking forward to the final exam. After all, this is Latin.

And Laney Fox was first runner-up in the Deaf Texas Beauty Pageant. Yes, I am honored to be embraced within the deaf and HOH world. She and I are excited to share our passion for this technology with each of you.

Next we write Laney’s experiences and thoughts about receiving CART. Laney, “I want to share to help others. I really do.” Laney insists on sharing – as do I.

Monette, the Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?

“Get ‘ER Done In Just One” – as evidenced by the many students and professionals who study Court Reporter Reference Books to pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials are listed online, www.CRRbooks.com.

** Pedagogically sound covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information.

The “Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Test Prep Textbook, 6th Edition” has greatly expanded testing tips, testing focus, NCRA COPE Ethics specific details, grammar sections, plus — legal, Latin, court, English, grammar, vocabularly, medical, and computer chapters. www.CRRbooks.com

The “Test Prep Set” includes four volumes – each listed on www.CRRbooks.com

Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=61

Did You Know: You can accelerate your career with private tutoring and career coaching? Court reporting veteran Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.

Tutoring and career coaching topics include:
• Motivational skills to keep you moving forward,
• Time-management skills,
• Process learning for more effective retention,
• Development of skills to author your book, your blog, and how to publish,
• Communication skills, daily interaction improvement skills, and much more.

Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, create new possibilities, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice,
• Students or veterans who have begun to question their career or whether they’re on the “right track” …

Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching
http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=29

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, can help you achieve at much high levels.

Where do you want to go? ** What have you ‘really’ wanted to do with your career, and ultimately, your life?

* No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!

About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.

She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. Bring it. * Bring it today!

18 Aug 2008

Laney’s Latin; Hearing Not Required, CART, Captioning

Laney’s Latin; Hearing Not Required, CART, Captioning
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Laney Fox and I became a team, in the trenches, during her first semester in Latin. Previously, I wrote how I’m CARTing
(communication access real-time translation), realtiming, her classes. I am a court reporter, instructor and tutor translating verbatim voice-to-text upon request for Laney.

I’ve watched Laney blossom in Latin! Her deafness may be viewed by others. Limitations may be viewed by others, but not to Laney. Her world is full of life and possibilities.

We hope our articles inspire others to step onto the branch, to feel the breeze – to create a new dream, to see it grow. Laney has a zest for life and has many dreams. Sharing her world and life, to help others, is important to her. As Laney repeatedly says (toes tapping), “I ‘want’ to help others. I really ‘want’ to help others.”

Laney was born healthy; she had her hearing. She became deaf approximately near 13 months old, possibly from a 24-hour virus/fever. They are not “entirely positive.” Laney was mainstreamed into her first “hearing school” during fourth grade after nine years of oral education at C.I.C., Central Institute of the Deaf, in St. Louis.

Her parents relocated the family to Baltimore after a job promotion. “So it was decided that I remain in the C.I.C. dorms for another year to continue my education to speak,” says Laney. “However, I was not happy at the dorms. So I left to join my family. My parents told me that they decided to raise me orally first to see if this was the best method for me to grow up with. They said if I wasn’t happy being orally raised, they would have taken me out of C.I.C. and enrolled me in a signing school. My parents were not trying to make me ‘hearing,’ as some people assume. My parents just wanted to see what was the best way to go.”

“When they saw that I was living a happy childhood with many other children, they decided to continue with this method. They simply did not see the need to teach me sign language when they saw that I was doing well in school and sports.”

“I chose to learn sign language in my senior year of high school. I wanted to see what it was like to communicate through sign language.
My parents didn’t hold me back; they were totally supportive, but still to this day my parents don’t know sign language. This doesn’t bother me. It just allows me to participate in both worlds.”

“If I had a choice, I would have gone a slightly different way. I would have chosen to teach a deaf child sign language when the child is in middle school (after the language acquisition period closes … to ensure that the child’s speech doesn’t deteriorate) to allow the child to communicate the best way that a child can. At least the child would know how to communicate through the hearing world and the deaf world.”

“I think children should learn both ways for total communication. Parents should not let the child place more emphasis on sign language. Parents should work more on oral speaking throughout childhood. It’s important that children are able to speak, so they have a choice in their communication when they enter the real world.”

I asked Laney to describe her Latin experiences with a CART provider. When I first appeared, she walked in, took one look at my equipment, stopped in her tracks.

“Let’s say I wasn’t expecting a captioner who was so dedicated to help me learn and ‘hear’ Latin,” she says.

“Some high school teachers knew that it was hard for me to understand them in lecture tone. When I was in high school, I took Latin for three years. But I always felt that I was missing out something (which I did because I failed the Latin placement test after three years of Latin!). I’d come into the class prepared with my version of the story and try to gather all corrections from other students. The teacher never corrected my versions.”

“However, I had many questions for the teacher after class. I think sometimes they were the same questions asked in class because he seemed frustrated when I kept asking questions about the translations or the lecture. I don’t think he ever truly understood my deafness. Anyway, I always depended on the students to tell me whether mine was right or wrong. In fact, I had a student, David; I would give him my translations. Then he would correct mine, and return my translations with all kinds of errors marked. He helped me for one year in (high school) Latin. I am grateful for his generosity.”

Laney had to deal with another problem. “I never heard the other students’ questions, translations or the professor’s corrections,” she explains. All of my learning relied on my own translations for three years. Throughout this time I didn’t know sign language; I didn’t have anyone to sign to me.”

“In my first semester at this university, Trinity, I’d write out translations before I went to class and have someone look over them. I was rather lucky in this class; there’s an excellent book that contains all the information lectured by the professor. I also had a notetaker, so I had more help than I was accustomed to.”

Laney took Latin for two months before I was asked to CART (Communication Access Real Time Translation) for her (on a Friday afternoon) and give her a rough ASCII disk at the end of each class (beginning the following Monday morning).

The CART assistance has been a boon. Laney says, “Now I enjoy class tremendously when we’re translating stories (instead of lecture days). It’s more fun to watch Monette trying to get everything. When she can’t hear, she flaps her arms around. She also taps my shoulder to grab my attention for her corrections on her screen. I just love her energy to get me into class discussion.”

And when I could not hear, we changed rooms. And when the students could hear doors loudly squeaking, and I had to keep writing “doors squeaking,” the doors were oiled, per my request. The university, professor and students have all become part of this CART team.

As I sweated and struggled to realtime Latin, I talked to her about my work, explained why ‘stuff’ popped up correctly – or not. Laney appreciated the information about my experiences in court reporting.

“I didn’t know what to really expect from a captioner. But when Monette Benoit told me that ‘all’ court reporters want to strive to be the best, I was very impressed. When she would get upset with the CART equipment, computer screen, at first I didn’t understand why she would get so frustrated.

“I was so happy that I could at least have an idea of what everyone else was talking about. It didn’t matter whether you mistyped ‘declension’ or whatever. I now knew what was going on. I am entirely grateful for Monette’s help in showing the pronunciations of the words I was unfamiliar with.”

Laney is enrolled full-time at Trinity University and attends sign language classes once a week in the evening. She volunteers with Best Buddies (a program for people who are mentally retarded). “I just take my Best Buddy out to have some fun,” she says.

And what does Laney want to do with her life? “My plans for the future are to become a veterinarian. I would love to be able to understand animals and be able to communicate with them. I am amazed how animals and humans can still communicate through body language, even without speaking. I would love to learn many more things about animals and perhaps help the world understand more about the animals we know so little about.” So, do you want to help others? Our wish is that you will want to help others – and yourself. This is a great time to be a court reporter and work with deaf, hard-of-hearing people. Life is good! Hearing, sound, is not required to expand your life, to blossom and to grow. Just ask Laney Fox. She’d really like to “hear” from you.

Monette may be contacted: PrivateTutoring@crrbooks.com

Monette, the Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?

“Get ‘ER Done In Just One” – as evidenced by the many students and professionals who study Court Reporter Reference Books to pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials are listed online, www.CRRbooks.com.

** Pedagogically sound covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information.

The “Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Test Prep Textbook, 6th Edition” has greatly expanded testing tips, testing focus, NCRA COPE Ethics specific details, grammar sections, plus — legal, Latin, court, English, grammar, vocabularly, medical, and computer chapters. www.CRRbooks.com

The “Test Prep Set” includes four volumes – each listed on www.CRRbooks.com

Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=61

Did You Know: You can accelerate your career with private tutoring and career coaching? Court reporting veteran Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.

Tutoring and career coaching topics include:
• Motivational skills to keep you moving forward,
• Time-management skills,
• Process learning for more effective retention,
• Development of skills to author your book, your blog, and how to publish,
• Communication skills, daily interaction improvement skills, and much more.

Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, create new possibilities, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice,
• Students or veterans who have begun to question their career or whether they’re on the “right track” …

Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching
http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=29

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, can help you achieve at much high levels.

Where do you want to go? ** What have you ‘really’ wanted to do with your career, and ultimately, your life?

* No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!

About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.

She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. Bring it. * Bring it today!

14 Aug 2008