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September 30, 2023

Paradise Valley classmates mourn loss of 10-year-old

The Paradise Valley Elementary School community is mourning the
loss of one of its students, 10-year-old Daniel Joseph Scianna.
The Paradise Valley Elementary School community is mourning the loss of one of its students, 10-year-old Daniel Joseph Scianna.

Daniel, a fifth-grader in Carol Ferri’s class, died Sunday night, the victim of an apparent accidental hanging. The mishap apparently occurred while he was on his bunk bed.

A California Department of Forestry (CDF) crew responded to the emergency call and found Daniel’s mother attempting CPR.

According to a CDF official, the captain and crew answering the call took Monday off and were extremely upset by the incident.

Ferri described Daniel as “everything you would want in a little boy.”

“He was bright, funny, charming and well-liked by all the students,” she told Paradise Valley Principal James Hamilton on Monday. “They will all miss him very much.”

Danny was a gifted student who loved math and reading, family members said. He was in the district’s GATE program.

Hamilton said Daniel, who most people called “Danny,” kept his fellow students entertained.

“He always had a way to make his friends laugh,” he said. “Even when he was on the edge of getting in trouble, he had a way of lightening things up. His teacher told me she always knew when he was up to something. For example, when the class was working one time, she heard these noises like a truck backing up, and she didn’t even have to look up. She just said, ‘Danny, you’d better put that truck in park before someone gets run over.’ ”

The school staff is reaching out to help the other students.

“This is such an unfortunate tragedy,” Hamilton said. “This is a very close community, so we are all supporting one another.”

Hamilton said there were three district psychologists on site Monday, as well as School District Assistant Superintendent Denise Tate and Barrett Elementary Principal Lisa Atlas to help students and staff with their grief.

“We have a number of good people here to help,” he said. “We have set up a sort-of soft room for artwork, conversation and counseling. I have been doing my tour (of the campus), and the students seem to be handling it very well. For some of them, it is not so real, and for some of them, there are very strong feelings.”

Monday started with an assembly for the older students.

“We had a meeting with upper grade students in the morning,” said Hamilton. “We told them they needed to take good care of one another and take care of themselves and let them know counseling would be available. We’re having a very soft day, with lots of recess and lots of writing in journals.”

Daniel’s teacher is upset but attempting to care for her other students who also miss him.

“Carol Ferri is a very strong person,” Hamilton said. “She is close with her students, and we know this is a difficult time for her and for the other students.”

Danny was a loving son, brother, grandson, great-grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. He will be sorely missed by his entire family and innumerable friends.

Danny is the beloved son of Mark and Ledonna Scianna; brother to Sammy, Mark Jr. and Kenny Scianna; grandson of Sam and Vera Fazzio and Marge Scianna; and great-grandson of Virginia Fazzio. He also leaves behind many loving uncles, aunts and cousins.

The family invites the community to join with them and friends to celebrate Danny’s life at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at South Valley Christian Church, 16995 DeWitt Ave.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SVCC (memo: Danny Scianna Fund) which will benefit programs such as AWANA and summer camp scholarships.

Services are under the direction of Habing Family Funeral Home, Gilroy.

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