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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June Welcome and Ryan Tetoff

June Welcome and Ryan Tetoff Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory Hollywood By Sherri Ackerman June Welcome looked forward to sending her son, Ryan Tetoff, to his neighborhood school. By first grade, though, she worried he wasn’t being challenged academically. "Sometimes I would go to school and have lunch with him," Welcome recalled. "I would find him upset. […]
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Savannah Lang

Savannah Lang Rhonda Ford wanted more of a say in her only child’s education. But the divorced mom and self-employed massage therapist thought her options were limited to her neighborhood school. Then one day in 2002, Ford learned about Step Up For Students and the income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Once the family received approval, […]
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Denisha Merriweather

Denisha Merriweather The daughter of a teenaged mom and high school dropout, Denisha Merriweather thought she was destined for a similar path. Receiving a scholarship from Step Up For Students changed her life. Today, the 24-year-old college graduate is working toward her master’s degree. “I’m just so grateful," Denisha said. “This never would have been […]
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Layla and Jeremiah Cirino

Layla and Jeremiah Cirino Adrienne Cirino’s children started their formal education at their neighborhood school, but soon her son started shying away from kindergarten and her daughter had days where she was ducking desks thrown by angry peers. “I felt scared,” said Layla, who starts seventh grade in August. “Me and my friends would go […]
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Julie and Faith Kleffel

Julie and Faith Kleffel Seven-year-old Faith Kleffel giggles in the background as her tutor, Tammy Forte, talks on the telephone. They’re at Faith’s house in Longwood, near Orlando, where the first-grader with Down syndrome lives with her mom and is homeschooled. “We have a room,’’ explained Forte, a former local school district paraprofessional. “That’s her […]
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Hayden and Cambria Rogers

Hayden Hernandez and Cambria Rogers It didn’t take long for Jenna Rogers to realize her son’s neighborhood school wasn’t working for him. A kindergartner, Hayden wasn’t grasping basic reading and writing skills. And he didn’t like interacting with classmates. “He was really struggling there,’’ Jenna said of the Clearwater school, rated a D at the […]
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Sualba Alejandro

Sualba Alejandro Ten-year-old Sualba Alejandro planted her Size 3 feet on the Faith Christian Academy stage in Orlando and tried to stay calm. In the audience, dozens of parents, children and school administrators were on hand to recognize Step Up For Students' Scholars of Excellence.  The event united Step Up families from throughout Central Florida […]
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Holy Family Catholic School

Holy Family Catholic School (Published in October, 2013) Jacksonville - Any old red carpet simply wouldn’t do. So in the fall of 2012, Holy Family Catholic School rolled out a specially designed one that a family donated after the school received the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award. It’s emblazoned with the National Blue Ribbon School seal, and it’s the […]
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South Florida Jewish Academy

South Florida Jewish Academy (Published in October, 2013) Coconut Creek - Baila Gansburg was preparing to open a Jewish preschool when opportunity came knocking at a site in Coconut Creek that used to house a school for children with special needs. “Parents came and begged us to reopen a special needs school,” Gansburg recalled. The former school, which educated […]
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Suncoast Waldorf School

Suncoast Waldorf School In 1990, equipped with their passion for education and a strong dedication to their community, Dr. C.E. and Mrs. Beulah Glover opened the doors of Mount Bethel Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale. The school was designed to provide an educational alternative for Broward County children, especially underprivileged children from the inner city […]
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