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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Piano prodigy in perfect academic setting thanks to education choice scholarship

BY ROGER MOONEY COOPER CITY, Florida – It began with a toy piano. Something a toddler could peck at. Pling! Pling! Pling! Evan Sosa did more than that. In no time at all, he was playing “Hot Cross Buns.” “With two hands,” his father, Phillip, said. “I'm like, ‘This is not normal.’ He was barely […]
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Adoption plus education choice scholarships give Conner and his siblings a chance to be 'best version of themselves'

BY ROGER MOONEY The transformation of Conner Davis from a young boy filled with social anxieties to an honor roll student and class leader was achieved through two life-altering events. First, he was adopted by a relative, which brought stability to his life. Second, Conner received an education choice scholarship. That allowed him to attend […]
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An education choice scholarship has Carlos on the pre-med track at the University of Miami

BY ROGER MOONEY In August, Carlos Felipe Gutierrez-Carranza began his freshman year at the University of Miami with a clear vision for his future. He wants to be a doctor. That goal was set during the summer of 2022 when he shadowed a physician for one week as part of his high school’s externship program. […]
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Her name is Sidjourney and she wants to make big changes in her community

BY ROGER MOONEY Let’s begin with the name: Sidjourney. Cheryl Knight planned to name her daughter Sidney, but after the complications Cheryl endured during pregnancy that included seven months of bed rest, she realized she had been through quite a journey. The baby was born in April 2005 in a Brooklyn, New York hospital, and […]
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Many Step Up students are eligible to receive free computer/tablet and free internet service

Many students who receive scholarships through Step Up For Students may be eligible to receive a free computer or tablet and up to five years of free internet service. Families that receive Medicaid, Medicare, free and reduced lunch, food stamps or other services are automatically eligible. The service is federally funded through the Affordable Connectivity […]
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Juliette is reading at grade level thanks to New Worlds Reading Scholarship Account

BY ROGER MOONEY Juliette Doyon was elated to score a Level 4 on her FAST ELA Reading for Progress Monitoring assessment test this past spring. It was almost two points higher than she scored at the beginning of the year. “I was really, really excited,” said Juliette, who completed the third grade at Valleyview Elementary […]
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Education choice scholarship was 'huge' in Miguel's journey to the top of his class at Notre Dame

BY ROGER MOONEY Miguel Coste delivered the salutatorian invocation in May during graduation at the University of Notre Dame. It was a 2 minute, 49 second prayer that set the tone for the ceremony that capped a commencement weekend that took his family on an emotional roller coaster. “So much joy,” Nordis Del Toro said. […]
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She paints, she cheers, she earns top grades: Brooke is back with help of Hope Scholarship

BY ROGER MOONEY LAKELAND – Brooke Bertsch is back. The one who loves to sketch and paint and who earns top grades in class. The one who smiles. That was Brooke before the bullying began in middle school. Before she became withdrawn and depressed. And that’s her now. “I feel good again,” she said. The […]
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The sky may not be the limit for this Step Up For Students scholar

BY ROGER MOONEY MIAMI – Julian Vazquez was 6 months old when he flew for the first time, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to London. He said he remembers some of the trip. Five seconds, maybe. Impossible, said his parents, but nearly 18 years later, Julian is sticking to his story. He can trace his […]
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Picture of an African American girl in her cap and gown. She's holding flowers and a balloon. She's looking back towards the camera.

Her home life may be chaotic, but Kaylia has Ivy League-potential and big plans for her future

BY ROGER MOONEY MARGATE, Florida – Kaylia Powell’s home life is in a constant state of flux. At times, she has lived apart from her mom and separated from her brothers and sisters. She has lived with friends and, for a few months this year, at the home of a teacher. She has lived with […]
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