The outdoors calls Anthony Mirra

February 27, 2000|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series profiling nine members of the class of 2000. The Herald-Mail has been following the students since they were kindergartners at Conococheague Elementary School in 1988. The profiles will appear on the last Monday of each month through May.

Anthony F. Mirra would rather be fishing - or hunting, or doing almost anything outdoors.

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Although he is a strong student, the Clear Spring High School senior is more interested in extracurricular activities than academic ones.

He spends a lot of his free time in the fields, forest and creek near his residence on Cress Pond Road. "He's forever outside," said his mother, Ruth Mirra, a nurse who works at Robinwood Surgery Center.

The 17-year-old enjoys roving the open acreage on his 325-cc Polaris Magnum three-wheeler. He bought the $2,000 machine with savings from working at the Maugansville Taco Bell. "I always wanted one," he said.


Mirra has been an althete and an outdoorsman since he was a child. He began hunting and fishing as a boy with his father, Frederick Mirra, an engineer who works at the Maryland Correctional Institute.

He first took a hunter safety course at age 12. This year, he killed two bucks on his uncle's Williamsport farm. He recently bought a .22-caliber Magnum for hunting squirrels and groundhogs.

He is also a bass angler, but prefers wading in Conococheague Creek to boating in the Potomac River. Every summer, he goes fishing with his friend David Harbaugh.

Good grades aren't difficult for Mirra, he said. He made the honor roll twice this school year and he typically gets mostly As, according to his mother. During an interview, he answered most questions with terse shyness.

"Anthony is a quiet student," said Milton Hayes, one of Mirra's favorite teachers. "He tries really hard. He seems very interested in what he's doing and he's very cooperative. He doesn't speak out much. He's a nice young man."

Horticulture, power mechanics, English, keyboarding and pre-calculus are among the courses Mirra is taking this year. He used to like math, but weightlifting is now his favorite class. He works out daily with his cousin at Gold's Gym.

He has played baseball since age 8 and took up basketball in middle school. Every weekday, he races track and competes in Saturday meets. He recently helped break a school record in the 4-by-400 relay.

Unlike other class of 2000 members, Mirra has followed a straight school path from Conococheague Elementary School to Clear Spring Middle School to the high school. He remembers most of his kindergarten classmates and remains friends with Barry Smoot.

He has lived in the same house all his life. He has an older sister, Aimee Mirra, 20, who is now a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

The family raises their own steers. They have seven cats and two dogs: Chocolate, a Doberman, and Zeke, a German Shepherd.

After graduation, Mirra doesn't know what his life will hold. "I might go to college at Hagerstown Community College. I don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

A forest ranger's job description sounds good to him.

"Something with the outdoors," he said.

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