All Post By Roger Mooney

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About The Author

Roger Mooney

If Roger thought covering the Tampa Bay Rays inexplicable run to the 2008 World Series was strange, imagine how he felt on the March afternoon in 2016 when he stood in the heart of Havana, Cuba while on assignment to cover the Rays historic game against the Cuban national baseball team. “Is this really happening?” he thought then. Ah, the life of a sports writer, where the unexpected is the norm.

My background story

From Little League to the World Series, Pop Warner football to the Super Bowl, Roger covered it all during his 20-plus years as a sports writer. He met everyone from Hank Aaron to Ben Zobrist, covered nearly the entire spectrum from youth sports to Florida and Florida State football to the Buccaneers and the Lightning. It was a good run, filled with great subjects for stories and a lifetime of memories, highlighted by a white-knuckle trip through the backstreets of Havana in a 1956 Dodge that did not have a working horn, speedometer or seatbelts. An unforgettable ride as the cabbie bounced through narrow streets to escape the traffic jam caused by President Obama’s arrival. Now, Roger is writing about students who benefit from the four scholarships provided by Step Up For Students. These are inspiring stories about children whose lives improved dramatically because of their new educational opportunities.

What I do before joining Step Up For Students?

Before joining Step Up, Roger spent seven seasons covering the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune and two years writing about the Rays and the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Bay Times. A native of New York City, Roger’s future as a hall-of-fame baseball player was derailed in high school when he could not make the baseball team. Undaunted, he sets his sights on writing. He studied at St. John’s University and dabbled in real estate and technical writing before finding his first job at a newspaper.

What I do on my day off?

When not working, Roger enjoys running (he has completed three marathons and has his sights set on someday running a fourth), reading (his goal is 20 books a year), bike riding, canoeing and kayaking with his wife, Suzanne, watching sitcoms (Superstore and Young Sheldon currently top the list) and taking his mixed beagle, Story, on long walks.

How to reach me out?

About The Author

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Time to nominate your Step Up students for the annual Rising Stars Awards event

It’s time for educators to nominate students for Step Up For Students’ annual Rising Stars Awards. The recipients will be honored in April at events at eight schools across the state. The schools will be announced at a later date. Students must be enrolled in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), Family Empowerment Scholarship for […]
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Education choice scholarships help family continue on chosen education path

BY ROGER MOONEY Those were tears of joy rolling down her cheeks after Maureen Press opened the email and learned her four children were eligible for education choice scholarships that would keep them in private school. “I was beside myself,” Maureen recalled of that day in the spring of 2017. “I didn’t think it would […]
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New private school seeks to connect Florida students with their Jewish roots

BY LISA BUIE Rabbi Isaac Melnick thinks learning should be fun. As a young teacher in a Hebrew dual-language charter school in South Florida, he ran a lively after-school program that taught Torah to students who wanted to receive Judaic instruction. He called the program Torah 4 Everyone. He also ran Camp Cooluna, a summer camp […]
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Purple Star program lets Florida Catholic schools nurture military families

BY LISA BUIE It’s tough being the new kid in school. It’s even tougher being the new kid every two to three years. That’s the norm for 1.2 million United States children born into military families. According to the Military Child Education Coalition, military-connected children move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation. Florida […]
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Fighting for life since birth, Peyton has 'overcome everything they told us she wouldn’t overcome'

BY ROGER MOONEY OKEECHOBEE – Peyton Williams entered this world with a damaged heart, a damaged airway and hardly any hope from doctors who examined her the day she was born. They told her mother her baby wouldn’t survive her first 24 hours. Then she was told Peyton wouldn’t live to her first birthday. Peyton […]
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Education choice scholarship gave Taty the 'true experience of what school is supposed to be'

BY ROGER MOONEY When she arrived at The Foundation Academy, a private K-12 school in Jacksonville, Tatyanna “Taty” Thibeaux was a shy student who didn’t say much and kept to herself. Some of that, her mother Lucy said, stemmed from a language delay. “When she was little, she really didn’t speak,” Lucy said. “She really […]
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School choice in Florida’s oyster country

Editor’s note: This distinctive high school in the Florida Panhandle is another compelling example of how education choice manifests in rural areas, contrary to myths perpetuated by choice opponents in other states. To rebut that misinformation, reimaginED published a new white paper last week called “Rerouting the Myths of Rural Education Choice.” You can check […]
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Video: School choice at work in rural America

Editor’s note: This video spotlights a rural private school that caters to school choice students and is changing lives and communities for the better. To learn more about how choice is helping rural areas, check out our new paper, “Rerouting the Myths of Rural Education Choice.” When you think of school choice, you probably don’t think of places […]
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Florida earns top education choice rankings in national report

BY LISA BUIE The Center for Education Reform in its annual education choice report has ranked Florida as the country’s No. 1 state for parent empowerment in education. The center’s Parent Power! Index gave Florida its overall top ranking, also rating the Sunshine State No. 1 for digital and personalized learning and education choice programs. […]
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podcastED: Florida scholarship mom says adding flexibility could benefit her family

On this episode, senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Jacquelyn Forte of Pensacola, Florida. Forte is the mother of four children, including three who attend a Catholic school on state education choice scholarships. Her oldest child, Jude, initially received the McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities, which merged this year with the state Family Empowerment […]
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