John McCain:

Remembering a Fallen Saint

By Delaney Moore '20

October 2018 Issue

      How many of you know who John McCain is? Probably all of you, but how many of you knew that the former senator actually attended St. Stephen’s?

One of SSSAS’s most notable alumni, John McCain passed away on August 25th of this year and much of the Alexandria community is honoring and remembering the legendary politician.

     For those of you who do not know, John McCain is a former Senator, Navy officer, and presidential candidate for the Republican party who ran against Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

      Long before his days as an influential figure, McCain attended St. Stephen’s School as a middle school student (between grades 5-7). After getting in touch with the school archivist, Ms. Payne, The Voice realized that there actually is no physical documentation of John McCain at SSSAS. This is due to the fact that McCain attended St. Stephens between 1946-1949 (grades 5-7), before the implementation of our yearbook 

and newspaper. Even though McCain didn’t graduate from St. Stephens, his sister Sandy McCain Morgan graduated from St. Agnes in 1952.   

     What was McCain like in middle school? According to a news release from Episcopal High School (where McCain graduated from high school), written by John Arundel, an author and consultant in the D.C. Area, in 2007, McCain was described as gaining a “defiant, unruly streak" at St. Stephen’s that continued to become more prominent as he got older.  In fact, McCain’s nickname in high school was “punk” due to the fact that he would dress in strange yet cool clothes and act out in classes. His classmates described his day-to-day style saying, “he wore blue jeans with his coat and tie and shoes held together by tape.”  After attending the SSSAS middle school, McCain attended Episcopal High School, where he was an active participant in the wrestling program. Not only was McCain a bit of rebel, but he also demonstrated that he had witty streak within him, cracking some notable one liners like “I guess I would have bathed more often if there were females at Episcopal.” This quote was referenced in an article distributed by Episcopal High School that explained McCain’s reaction, when it was announced that Episcopal, St. Stephens’ and Bishop Ireton were all becoming co-ed institutions. John McCain isn't the only McCain to attend St. Stephen’s; three of his children also attended the school: his sons, Douglas and Andrew, attended St. Stephen’s and his daughter, Sidney,  attended St. Agnes. Even though some of his children attended the school, none of them graduated from SSSAS.

   A fun fact about John McCain is that he was an editor of the Episcopal High School’s newspaper and yearbook. According to an article from Episcopal High School, McCain was also “A member of the J.V football team under Episcopal legendary coach William B. Ravenel, and he set a school wrestling record for fastest pin.”

   According to his classmates at Episcopal quoted in their school’s publication,  McCain was a “rambunctious, combative, defiant little boy,” just like many boys in the middle school right now.

   Even though he didn’t attend the school for very long, it is still fascinating that our school community includes such an honorable and brave alumni who has done a lot for this country. It it is humbling to know that his roots are planted right here in the  halls of SSSAS. Rest In Peace, John McCain August 29, 1936- August 25, 2018.