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Sullivan County student attends FBI youth leadership program

Cassidy Skoranski, completing the “Yellow Brick Road” obstacle course, says attending the program was “an incredible experience.”

Cassidy Skoranski, of Laporte, was chosen along with 60 students from around the world to participate in the FBI National Academy Asssociates Inc. Youth Leadership Program at Quantico, Virginia, earlier this month.

She was one of two students representing Pennsylvania in the nine-day program run by FBI agents and law enforcement graduates from the academy. During their time in at Quantico, the students received classroom instruction covering several aspects of the criminal justice system and leadership development.

“There is so much that I have gained from my experience at FBINAA Youth Leadership Program. I honestly don’t even know where to begin,” Skoranski said of her experience.

“The coursework and classroom instruction were relative to the issues I face on a daily basis. I now have a better grasp on how to control and manage my time in a productive manner. This program has helped me improve my interpersonal skills, as we talked about ways to build a solid foundation as a leader and slowly build upon that to become a “skyscraper,” someone people will admire and respect. It reiterated how necessary teamwork is in order to succeed, and how important it is to get along with peers in that team,” she continued.

“Last but not least, getting hours of hands-on training from past and present FBI agents was like a dream come true. It provided true insight into the knowledge, skills, and training that goes into becoming a law enforcement officer,” she added.

Part of her training included taking part in demonstrations and drills at Hogan’s Alley, a 10-acre mock town where trainees can utilize their tactical skills in specific scenarios. On the day before their graduation, students ran a 3.5 mile obstacle course with natural obstacles and pits of mud and water called the “Yellow Brick Road.”

Speaking following her completion of the program, Skoranski said that being chosen for the program helped her solidify her short and long term goals.

“Looking at my potential career and education, it has once again proved that a career of service to this country is where I want to be following graduation. Whether that is in the military, or in the civilian world as a law enforcement agent. Hearing all about the different opportunities available to me through the FBI was fascinating, as there are many majors and career paths I can follow,” she said.

“Looking ahead, I just want to take the valuable knowledge and life lessons I learned there and apply them to my everyday life. I am continually going to work on improving my leadership skills and strive to be a person others can look up to,” she added.

When asked if she would recommend the rigorous program to other students Skoranski said, “absolutely.”

“I have been to a lot of programs, and this is by far one of the best that I have ever attended. It was an incredible experience. I am leaving with friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime, as well as a world of new knowledge. It was a perfect mix of hands-on training and classroom lectures,” she said, adding, “If I could attend this program 10 more times, I would go every time!”

Skoranski will be a junior at Wyoming Seminary College and Preparatory School, Kingston, in the fall. She is the daughter of Frank and Lisa Soranski.

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