December 19, 2006
Alexander Graham Bell Grammar School (PS
205) to Laud Heroic Effort on December 21
It started out just like any other day for Andrew Ferdinandi but
it would end with a life-changing event that would touch the lives
of many. Ferdinandi, an Assistant Professor in the Department of
Human Services and Counseling in The School of
Education at St. John’s University, would be in the right place
at the right time on November 9 to give life-saving CPR to a young
boy who had collapsed just 100 yards from his grammar school at
Alexander Graham Bell (PS 205) located at 7525 Bell Boulevard in
The heroic act brought a young man back to life after being
unresponsive and having no pulse or heartbeat. The boy (who
Ferdinandi knows only as Antonio), a fifth grader enrolled as a
special education student at District 75 (which is housed in the PS
205 school building), is still hospitalized and is being moved to a
rehabilitation center while he fights to return to full health.
The professor claims his chance meeting with the young boy; his
mother and sister on that fateful day may have been
“I had to return home to get a book I needed for my lecture that
day and for some reason I turned down Bell Boulevard,” said
Ferdinandi. “I never take that way home but I did – and I
immediately see this boy collapsed on the ground and his mother and
sister standing over him screaming. I’m not a religious person but
I’m spiritual and it makes me wonder why things happened the way
they did on that day.”
Ferdinandi leaped from his car and immediately tended to the
boy. After checking for vital signs he began administering CPR
which he had learned years ago from his training as an employee at
Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Calling out to passersby,
Ferdinandi yelled for anyone to call 911 and alert the school of
this incident. His efforts produced a slight breathing pattern
which emergency ambulance and police attendants credited with
saving Antonio’s life. They eventually stabilized the boy and
whisked him to a nearby hospital.
“The incident really drained me. I didn’t know how the boy was
doing, if he would make it. I have a 12-year old son of my own so
it had a profound affect on me,” added Ferdinandi.
Also arriving on the scene were PS 205 Principal Susan Scherer
and school officials who came rushing to his aid. Sherer’s office
got word to Ferdinandi that evening telling him Antonio was alive
and on a respirator.
“What Andrew (Ferdinandi) did was extraordinary considering the
circumstances,” said Sherer. “It is going to be a long road to
recovery but the fact that Antonio is still alive is a blessing.
The mother is so appreciative. She spends every day with her son in
the hospital and hopes to be at the school assembly for Andrew on
The December 21 event will be attended by Assemblyman Mark
Weprin, school officials and students from PS 205 and District 75
as well as Principal Sherer who will host a special school assembly
to honor Ferdinandi with an accommodation of merit.
“People say what I did was heroic. I don’t consider myself a
hero. Firemen and Policemen who lost their lives during 9/11 –
they’re heroes. The men and women fighting in Iraq – they’re
heroes,” noted Ferdinandi. “I’m just a citizen who did what
citizen’s should do. I had to do it – there was no one else around
and the boy needed immediate attention.”
Ferdinandi is humbled by the special assembly arranged by the
school but wants only to shake the hand of Antonio, his mother and
young sister. The three unknowingly have formed a bond that will
forever link them together.
“I’m looking forward to having that moment when we can all share
in the joy of life and the opportunity that brought us all
together,” said Ferdinandi.
For more information contact Dominic Scianna, Director of Media
Relations at St. John’s University by calling (718) 990-6185 or
e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.