Teen Pole Vaulter Eyes Ocean Dive To Save Lives


August 1, 2023
Cianna Ferraro takes drills and diving seriously
Contributed photographs

Pole vaulter Cianna Ferraro, 15, is training to dive into the ocean to save lives.

“All I want to be in life is a rescue swimmer in the United States Coast Guard,” Ferraro said during a series of recent interviews. “I want to be stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, because it’s the biggest Coast Guard rescue station in the country.”

The base covers about four million square miles and 47,300 miles of shoreline throughout Alaska and the Arctic. The Coast Guard reports that during a routine month this district saves 22 lives; assists 53 people; reports and investigates 25 marine casualties; per- forms 74 living marine resource boardings; responds to 22 pollution incidents; services 93 buoys and fixed aids to navigation; conducts 13 security boardings and 22 security patrols; per- forms 143 commercial fishing vessel safety exams; saves over $1.65 million in property; teaches 375 kids about life jacket wear; and performs 95 marine inspections.

The incoming junior at Northwest Regional High School was rated second best female pole vaulter in the Berkshire League this year, has cleared eight feet in practice and intends to clear nine feet next season. Some of Ferraro’s other goals are rising through the ranks of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in New Haven and a Police Master-at-Arms training program in New Hampshire. In addition, she plays flute and piccolo in the high school band, serves on the student council and is an officer of the Future Farmers of America.

She is ranked as a Seaman Apprentice in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps and serves on the Color Guard team. Cadet units typically meet one weekend per month or one night per week during the school year. Training away from home is conducted during school vacations.

The program, Ferraro said, “teaches leadership, respect and military bearing.”

While Ferraro’s list of activities including service as a New Hart- ford EMS cadet could take up the rest of this story, she remains focused on saving lives: “The idea of jumping out of a helicopter into a hurricane to save someone is perfect ... I’m willing to sacrifice my today so someone else can have tomorrow.”

Her mother, Angela Skornia, said she wants Cianna to have a happy and fulfilled life, “full of love and compassion and humor – and, definitely, safety.”

Lt. Tyler O’Neil of the Riverton Volunteer Fire Co. and an EMS officer with New Hartford Volunteer Ambulance has gone on ambulance calls with Ferraro and gives her high ratings.

“She has demonstrated a great level of compassion and professionalism when dealing with patients,” O’Neil said. “I think that the best firefighters and EMTs are the ones that want to be involved, the ones that want to help, the ones who don’t show up just because they have to.”

In her spare time, Ferraro intends to attain the rank of Eagle Scout as soon as this fall.

“Something I like living by,” she said, “is if you get an opportunity take it, because there is a reason youare given that opportunity.”

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