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 out?

Reach me at [email protected].
About The Author

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With education choice scholarship, parents feel they are doing 'something greater' for Emilio

APOPKA – The days were long when the family lived up north, when Maria Alvaracin and her husband, Fernando Ramirez, worked two and sometimes three jobs each in one day just to afford rent and food and gas for the car they shared. Maria cleaned houses and worked the overnight shift at McDonald’s, while Fernando […]
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Education choice scholarship a 'humongous blessing' for straight-A student Briana

The first quarter academic awards ceremony at Grace Christian School was coming to an end, and Lynette Thomas had yet to hear her daughter’s name called. Briana Thomas had enrolled at the pre-K-to-8 faith-based private school in Ocala as a sixth-grader that August and had aced every test. Lynette thought it was odd Briana hadn’t […]
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Nearly housebound by a rare set of genetic disorders, Tristan has seen the world thanks to his ESA and virtual reality

Tristan Drummond was born 10 weeks premature with one kidney and enough genetic disorders that doctors gave him a 50/50 chance to turn 1. He had his first surgery when he was 2 days old and has far exceeded that dire prediction. He will turn 12 in June. But his lungs are filled with scar […]
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Mikaela's goal is simple: From head of the class as a student to head of the class as the teacher

BY ROGER MOONEY TAMPA – Be a doctor, some say. Be a lawyer, others suggest. You’re so smart, you should do something big, they tell her. Mikaela Powell politely listens to those who see her top-of-the-class grades and encourage her to pursue a lofty education and a lucrative career. What they don’t know is the […]
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Sugar and spice and tackles: Payton wants to coach football just like her dad

BY ROGER MOONEY NAPLES – Payton Gibbs stood at midfield wearing black pants, a red pullover, and a red ballcap emblazoned with the University of Massachusetts logo. From a distance, she looked like a football coach watching her team during pregame warmups. From closeup, too, because on a brisk November afternoon in Amherst, Massachusetts, the […]
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Two Catholic schools join Florida's growing list of Purple Star schools that accommodate military families

BY ROGER MOONEY These four words serve as a beacon to military families stationed in Florida who are searching for the right educational fit for their children: A Purple Star School. “It lets them know that we want them here and that we want to honor them and support them,” said Stasia Holzbaur, the office […]
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Education choice scholarship a boon for this military family

E BY ROGER MOONEY MIRAMAR – William Ivins moved his family to South Florida ahead of his retirement from the United States Marine Corps and enrolled his children at Mother of Our Redeemer Catholic School, hoping they would reap the same rewards as he did from a faith-based education. But, as William and his wife, […]
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How an education choice scholarship gives Hannah her voice, her strength and a horse named Snowflake

BY ROGER MOONEY OCALA – Seven years ago, Vicki and Tim Fouche were greatly dissatisfied with the care their daughter Hannah was receiving at her school for students with special needs near their Summerfield home. The situation was made worse by the fact that Hannah, who has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal and can’t walk, […]
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How one question and four education choice scholarships changed the lives of Emmaline's children

BY ROGER MOONEY MIAMI GARDENS – The seismic shift in Quran Wright’s life occurred in a South Florida Walgreens while shopping with his mother. He was in the third grade at the time and not faring well in his district school. Emmaline Reddick and her son were talking about his classes. Emmaline told Quran that […]
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Elijah wants to learn as much as he can, which is why his sights are set on Harvard University

BY ROGER MOONEY PALMETTO BAY – Elijah Williams was in the fifth grade when he set his sights on a career in engineering. The best way to get there, he decided, was with an Ivy League education. So, he set his sights on attending Harvard University. “I want to learn as much as I can,” […]
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