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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Journey's journey includes volleyball, an education choice scholarship and now college

PINELLAS PARK – The workers involved in the adoption process in Guatemalan called her Viaje, which translates to English as Trip or Journey because her adoptive parents from Idaho had settled on the name “Journey” for the toddler. What’s in a name? Well, life has been a journey for Journey Hinz, who graduated this month […]
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Jaydis is a 'powerful example' of the transformative impact education choice can have on a student

ST. PETERSBURG – Jaydis Kincade sat at a picnic table in the shade next to the vegetable garden maintained by his classmates at Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg and set up a chess board. Out came the rooks, the bishops, the knights. The pawns, the king, the queen. He aligned them in their correct […]
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By catering to students who learn differently, Beacon College helped Ryan 'Blow away expectations'

LEESBURG – Ryan Sleboda is a college graduate with a degree in anthrozoology, a 4.0 GPA, and the distinction of being one of five valedictorians for Beacon College’s Class of 2024. He’s sailing off to a future where he expects to own a business – a doggy daycare – and live on his own. “That’s […]
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Top grades and desire to ease family's financial burden leads to coveted QuestBridge scholarship

DORAL – When he begins his freshman year this fall at Boston University, Alvaro Saenz plans to major in biomedical engineering, a decision driven by his lifelong love of science and his desire to dedicate his life to helping people with special needs – such as his brother. “It combines the best of both worlds,” […]
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A student with many interests has many options thanks to his Personalized Education Program

Cooper Campen is the spelling bee champion of Alachua County who plays the trumpet, reads John Grisham novels, and would like to be a mechanical engineer. Or a doctor. Or a lawyer. He is 12 years old, a young man of many interests. Science. History. Music. Words. And this: Education choice. Cooper, 12, is homeschooled […]
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What can Emma do? Amazing things, that's what

CLEARWATER – On the desk inside Emma Coto’s bedroom is a sign that says, “This Girl Can.” That’s as good of a place as any to begin this story because sitting at the piano next to the desk is Emma, and she’s playing the theme to “Jurassic Park,” her favorite movie. Emma is 11, and […]
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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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