The winner of the Learner’s Medal at the Urdd National Eisteddfod, Bridgend, Taff-Ely 2017 is Rebecca Jones from Cwmdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Rebecca, who is 22 years old, went to English medium primary and secondary schools, studying Welsh as a second language up to A-level. Four years ago, she made the decision to study for a degree in Welsh as a second language at Swansea University. There, she was inspired by a lecturer in the department, the former-archdruid, Christine James.
Rebecca said: “The fact that Christine, like me, comes from the Valleys and has learned Welsh gave me a boost whilst on the course. In July last year, I threw my hat in the air to celebrate gaining a first-class degree in Welsh. I really have to thank the Welsh Department at the University, without them and their support I would never have competed”.
Rebecca Jones with her Learner's Medal
Explaining her reasons for learning the language she said: “I would often visit events in Wales, like the Royal Welsh Show, and I’d hear people chatting in Welsh but I couldn’t understand a word. I believe that the Welsh language is an important part of our identity, as Welsh people, and the language will open doors for me as I search for jobs in the future”.
The other two who reached the final round of the Learner’s Medal this year were Kayleigh Jones, a third year Welsh and Mathematics student at Swansea University, and Sophie James from Cardiff High School.
Professor Christine James welcomed the news: “What a day for the University’s Department of Welsh! All of us, staff and students, are incredibly proud of Rebecca, and are delighted that she has won the Learner’s Medal. We are also incredibly proud of Kayleigh for reaching the final round of the competition. Congratulations to both!
“Rebecca spent four years with us in the Department of Welsh, and by the end of her first year, she was fluent in Welsh. She graduated with a first-class degree last year, and she was also presented with a special award by the Department as recognition of her exceptional work. It’s no surprise to us here in the Department that Rebecca has had such success at this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod”.
- Tuesday 30 May 2017 19.49 BST
- Wednesday 25 September 2019 12.15 BST
- Cat Newman