After winning the Welsh Learners’ Medal herself in 2018, it was a very special moment when teacher Rebecca Morgan heard the news that one of her pupils, Gwilym Morgan, had won the Welsh Learners’ Medal at this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod, held recently in Llandovery.
Rebecca is Head of Welsh at Bishop of Llandaff High School in Cardiff. She started working at the school in 2017, the same year Gwilym joined Year 7.
Rebecca explains, "I've taught Gwilym since Year 7 and I could tell straight away that there was something special about him. I could see that his brain worked well with languages and he could pick things up so quickly.
"Having someone who loves your subject is a very special feeling. When I watched him at the Eisteddfod talking to people, and seeing how his confidence has developed over the years, it was fantastic. It was the biggest compliment I could get."
Rebecca learnt Welsh at school and still remembers her A Level lessons, and her teacher’s enthusiasm for the language.
"I had amazing Welsh teachers when I was a pupil at Ysgol Gyfun Pencoed,” she says. “They were so supportive and I'm now trying to emulate what I had with my pupils at Bishop of Llandaff School."
Gwilym hopes to go to university to study Welsh and French, with the aim of teaching Welsh in a secondary school.
"Gwil is the first pupil I’ve had so far who wants to carry on with the Welsh language as a career. There are many pupils who love the subject, and who will hopefully do some modules in Welsh at university, but it is a very special feeling when someone wants to pursue the Welsh language as a career.
"I got a card from Gwil after the Eisteddfod saying 'In the future, I hope I’ll be telling my pupils about you and how you’ve inspired me' - It was very emotional!"
Gwilym’s family loves languages. His mother has a degree in French and German, and has also learned Welsh. She now works as a Learn Welsh tutor for adults.
"Not only does Gwilym pick up language easily, he’s also willing to have a go at speaking Welsh. He knows he makes mistakes, but is willing to learn from them,” adds Rebecca.
"You can't teach someone to love a language the way he does - there's something natural in him. I hope that, in the future, he will also be a Welsh teacher inspiring young people to love our special language."