Alumni Profile: William Lewis (’17)


Henry Abercrombie , Staff Writer

Mr. Will Lewis graduated from Cathedral Prep in 2017. He has fulfilled many roles throughout his life at Prep—and onwards. At Prep, he was a student among his fellow peers. Now, he works on a ship for the U.S. Navy. For me and my fellow debaters, he was our debate coach. I have him to thank for my four years of debate experience—he taught me nearly everything I know about debate. Thanks to his influence, the debate team is still up and running, expanding to include extemporaneous speech, Congressional debate, and Lincoln-Douglas debate, alongside policy.

When questioned about the work that he performs, Mr. Lewis stated that he is “a surface warfare officer for the U.S.S. Lake Champlain, serving as an electrical officer onboard.”

His main job is to manage the ship’s electrical distribution systems, along with the other navy electricians and the navigation team.

“I knew that I wanted to attend the naval academy, and Prep had a really solid track record of allowing folks the opportunity to attend the naval academy, whether that be through academic, athletic, or leadership opportunities,” Mr. Lewis said.

I was very intrigued to hear that his career involved a deep understanding of electrical engineering, as engineering is actually one of my possible career pathways. Thus, we chatted for a bit on the possible colleges that I could attend—and he was supportive and enthusiastic about my endeavors the whole way through. This further contributed to my resolve that he would continue to act as a mentor to prospective debaters.

“My favorite thing from my time at Prep,” Mr. Lewis said, “would be my time at the debate team at Prep with all my closest friends. We had a unique class.”

He enjoyed traveling for debate tournaments with Mr. Pituch, who served as the debate coach at the time.

Eventually, I decided to ask him if he would be willing to continue to coach students in policy, congressional, and other forms of debate—and he was more than willing to do so. For me, it was definitely a pleasant surprise—he enjoyed his time at Prep to the extent that he would be willing to continue contact, and perform Zoom calls with prospective debaters. He mentioned his continued debate career in college.

“I competed in policy debate for all four years at the naval academy,” he said. “I graduated in 2021. I don’t think there was an activity that helped me out more in preparing for my career than debate did, in terms of communication skills.”

Communication skills are a key aspect of almost any job—your ability to get along with your coworkers and collaborate is a vital aspect of almost any job.

I proceeded to ask him about his decision to remain and assist Prep students like myself.

“I felt that Prep gave so much to me in terms of not only debate but also such an experience. I wanted to ensure that other folks were able to have that experience as well.”

His is a noble motive, one that I aspire to as well—continuing to have others enjoy debate has become very important to myself as well over these past four years.  We finished the interview with the understanding that the debate team will continue under our leadership—we have a common interest and goal.