Category: Rising Stars

We’ve found “10” articles in category archives for “Rising Stars”

A medical emergency, a call to 911 and a fireman's promise ignited Za'Niya's dream to be a firefighter

BY ROGER MOONEY NORTH MIAMI – Zabrina James had trouble breathing because of the intense pain in her left knee caused by a botched surgery nearly five years earlier. She couldn’t walk, which meant she couldn’t drive herself to the hospital, so she instructed her daughter to call for help and coached her on what […]
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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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Picture of two young boys. The taller boy is wearing glasses and has a medal for "Rising Stars"

The bus ride to school is long but the opportunity for a Catholic education is well worth the trip

BY ROGER MOONEY PALM COAST – Every school day at 7 a.m., a small bus rolls to a stop in front of the rectory of the Catholic church in Crescent City. Waiting to board are a handful of students, including Jesus Martinez-Cruz and his little brother, Christian. They are headed on a 50-minute ride to […]
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headshot of girl wearing green cap and gown

Of dreams, sacrifices and an education choice scholarship: How one high school grad has her sights set on becoming a doctor

BY ROGER MOONEY MIAMI – Nery Perez-Valdes wanted to become a doctor, but life got in the way. She fled Cuba for Miami with her mom when she was 11 and found herself working at 14 to help pay the bills. Nery would become a single mom and for a long stretch worked two jobs […]
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Time to nominate your Step Up students for the annual Rising Stars Awards event

It’s time for educators to nominate students for Step Up For Students’ annual Rising Stars Awards. The recipients will be honored in April at events at eight schools across the state. The schools will be announced at a later date. Students must be enrolled in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), Family Empowerment Scholarship for […]
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Education choice scholarship helps Khairi dream big

ROGER MOONEY MIAMI GARDENS, Florida – Like nearly every football-playing high school senior in the country, Khairi Muhammad dreams of an All-American college career that leads to his selection near the top of the NFL Draft. The desire fuels him, sometimes waking him in the middle of the night with a burst of adrenalin so […]
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'Better options' for their daughter included a move to America and an education choice scholarship

Roberto Porras was at his job as a pharmaceutical rep in his native Venezuela when his wife, Ony, called with the news that she was pregnant. It was the spring of 2003, and Roberto, overjoyed at the thought of becoming a dad, was concerned about the baby’s future in a country rife with political unrest. […]
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Education choice alumni has clear vision for his future: 'I want to be a missionary'

FORT MYERS, Florida – Zechariah Edwards sat inside the principal’s office at Sonshine Christian Academy one morning during the final days of his senior year and talked about his future. “I want to be a missionary,” he said. Interesting. Why? “That’s a pretty good question.” After a few moments of thought, he said, “As a […]
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Earthquake survivor uses education choice scholarship to become a 'Rising Star'

MARGATE, Florida – Sophonie Jean Baptiste was in the family’s second-floor apartment the day in 2010 when an earthquake rocked her native Haiti. She grabbed her daughter, Gema, who was not quite 3, and tried to run for safety while the three-story building they lived in crumbled. They didn’t make it. Nearly five hours later, […]
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