Seize the Opportunity

UMPS CARE Charities All-Star Scholarship recipient, Peter Jackson Jr.

UMPS CARE Charities All-Star Scholarship recipient, Peter Jackson Jr.

Nearly 3500 students will descend on the lush, green campus of Mercyhurst College situated on a picturesque hillside overlooking the small town of Erie, Pennsylvania. The students of this small, Catholic University will certainly become familiar with the school’s well known mantra: carpe diem.  The school’s expectation is that its students will embrace this latin phrase meaning, seize the day in their everyday lives.

This group of young adults, embarking on a new phase in their lives, is traditional every September.  One particular student will grace Mercyhurst and stand with the almost 680 students composing this year’s freshman class. But this student and his journey is anything but conventional.  Peter Jackson Jr. will both inspire and galvanize your spirit.  His connection with UMPS CARE Charities as the inaugural recipient of the All-Star Scholarship is only a fraction of an extraordinary journey of strength, determination and the enduring, selfless love of adoptive parents.

For most of Peter’s life he and his younger brother would go to bed each night with the unabated fear that in the morning they would be, yet again, moved to another place.  Peter has grown up living with the harsh reality of both biological parents being incarcerated.  He has coped with the vast majority of his first 15 years of life persevering in countless foster homes and youth facilities.  Peter could not grasp even the notion of attending college, and graduating from high school seemed more unlikely with each passing day.  He knew essentially one truth and conveys it when he writes, “Some children do not get to experience life as it should be.  For most of my life I thought I was going to be one of those children.”

It is a story common to so many uncommon children who find themselves in similar circumstances.  With only a splinter of hope for a promising life, they begin each day with the lasting dream of becoming part of a family.  A dream that for many, rarely becomes a reality.

In a moment, all of that would change and his life would be forever transformed when Mark and Keegen Gennuso became parents to Peter and his younger brother.  They would become the single most influential people in his life and unleash a faith and awaken his heart in a way he never thought possible.  Peter tells us, “Everything changed when I met my adoptive parents. At that time a whole new world opened up to me and I no longer had to live the way I was living.”

Some children do not get to experience life as it should be.  For most of my life I thought I was going to be one of those children.

Peter would go on to graduate from Fairview High School and leave a legacy of perseverance and leadership. Those in the community who knew of his story, would often share with Fairview faculty and coaches what a great job they have done with him.  One of Peter’s coaches asserts, “We very quickly correct them and let them know that all the hard work and growth has been achieved solely by this young man.”

Blessed with tremendous athletic ability and his strong academic record he would be accepted and earn an athletic scholarship to Mercyhurst College.  That, combined with other grants, would cover only a portion of the tuition and a substantial sum would still remain.   The once unimaginable now within reach, the UMPS CARE Charities All-Star Scholarship provides that final piece as Peter becomes the first in his family to attend college.

As Peter Jackson Jr. enters his first year at Mercyhurst College those who come to know him will quickly identify that this young man captures and embodies the true spirit of the latin adage the school advocates.

Seizing the day is only the beginning for a brave young man and for the parents who gave him a chance at life.

Education is an important part of life. In baseball terms, it gives you a healthy lead as you round the bases. UMPS CARE Charities and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) have partnered to offer and administer All-Star Scholarship opportunities. Learn more at: UMPS CARE Charities Scholarship

Mike Di Muro has been a Major League Umpire since 1999.  He is the author of the official blog of UMPS CARE Charities.  Please leave any questions or comments below.


About UmpsCareBlog

Welcome to the official blog of UMPS CARE Charities. Its purpose is to share personal insights on umpiring and the community outreach activities in an effort to generate inspiration and interest in the many programs of this Major League Umpire charity.

View all posts by UmpsCareBlog

7 Responses to “Seize the Opportunity”

  1. matt w Says:

    Thanks Mike I will definitely keep you posted. Cant wait for next spring to roll around.

    Looking forward to next blog.

    Once again thanks.

    Take care,


  2. Mike Di Muro Says:

    Matt, that sounds great. There are some shorter clinics that maybe you can look at. These are high quality clinics teaching you the basics of what you will learn at the 6 week school. Here is the link:
    Best of luck, and keep me updated.

  3. matt w Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the response. I’ve looked into both schools. I’m still undecided but from what I gather Harry Wendelstedt does more live games and Jim Evans has more of a focus on the rules. Like you said I really cant go wrong with either choice.
    Unfortunately theres not much in the way of clinics here (I’m just outside of Toronto) other than the one clinic prior to each season. I am going to go umpire school in 2012. Unfortunately I’m unable to attend this year.

    Take care,


  4. Mike Di Muro Says:

    Matt, thank you so much for the comment and the congratulations! Umpiring is a great career whether you make it to the Major Leagues or work at any of the various amateur levels. We are all in it together! Look into the Jim Evans Academy or the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire Schools. They are both outstanding. There are also clinics that are available throughout the country which can be helpful. I hope this helps.

  5. matt w Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Great blog. This story is great, I have no doubt that peter is on his way to a fine future.
    The build-a-bear children hospital visits put everything into perspective. I believe I read that theres only 12 stops this year on the tour. Is there any plan to expand to all 30 cities in the MLB?
    I’d also like to pass along my congratulations (better late then never) on working Halladays perfect game. As someone who also umpires and is a jays fan I would’ve loved that chance.
    Do you have any advice for someone who is looking into getting into professional umpiring?

    Take care,


  6. Mike Di Muro Says:

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this article. This is a very important part of the UMPS CARE Charities and we thank everyone at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DFTA).


  1. TTFB Interviews MLB Umpire Mike Di Muro: Talks Roy Halladay and UMPS CARE Charities Auction! | Through The Fence Baseball - March 11, 2011

    [...] [...]

Leave a Reply