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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Lake City Christian Academy

Lake City Christian Academy Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on the redefinED blog on Dec. 14, 2015. By TRAVIS PILLOW, redefinED One recent morning, Tana Norris walked into the small building that houses the makeshift dance studio at her North Florida private school. “I’m a dancer!” Stephen, an 11th-grader, responded. He and some classmates […]
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PenTab, Miami Gardens

PenTab, Miami Gardens By Sherri Ackerman When PenTab Academy opened 13 years ago inside a Miami Gardens church, it had one teacher and five students. The school was part of a ministry led by Pastor Robert Stewart of Pentecostal Tabernacle International. He turned his office into a classroom to provide the congregation and community with […]
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Katie Cutford

Katie Cutford By Sherri Ackerman When Katie Cutford attended her neighborhood district school in Lake City, classmates sometimes made fun of her thick glasses and fainting spells. Katie has juvenile glaucoma and POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), a heart condition that causes her to occasionally lose consciousness. Her younger brother, Caleb Cutford, diagnosed with cerebral palsy […]
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The Garnes Children

The Garnes Children By Sherri Ackerman When her three eldest children were ready to start their formal education, Deidre Christopher-Garnes sent them to their neighborhood district school. It worked well for her daughters, Malkia and Rukiya. But her son, Osakwe, really struggled in the third grade. “He needed more help in math and science,” Christopher-Garnes said. […]
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The Cherry Family

The Cherry Family By Sherri Ackerman When Demetrius Cherry’s commissions plummeted at his cell phone sales job two years ago, his family of six lost their house in Land O’ Lakes and moved in with friends. “We were literally homeless,’’ recalled his wife, Nina Cherry. Within a few months, her husband found another job at […]
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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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