From personal struggles to a degree, ʽposter-boy’ Nathan shines
Perseverance has paid off for a young man whose life was transformed after taking part in the youth development programme, Beyond Rugby.
After overcoming personal challenges that used to hold him back, Nathan Morgan has graduated with a university degree and is well on his way to becoming a sporting coach himself.
Nathan, who joined the programme as a 12-year-old struggling with school work, told The Royal Gazette: “The most important thing that caught my attention about Beyond Rugby was the help I got with my homework – I could do it but was lazy. Then I could go and play rugby outside which was a big plus.
“I have most definitely progressed; I was very shy and kept to myself. Now I am very outgoing and am kind to everybody. I definitely grew.”
Now 21, Nathan has represented Bermuda at rugby for every age group except the national team.
He was captain of CedarBridge Academy’s rugby team during his last two years at the school.
He gained a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports and Recreation Management with a Minor in Coaching at New England College in New Hampshire.
“The rugby programme helped me to progress and was a stepping stone for me,” Nathan added.
“Now I can coach in a summer camp in Maine, in a soccer coach position, from June to August. I hope I can get my foot in the door with coaching.”
Beyond Rugby, a partnership between Family Centre and the Bermuda Rugby Football Union (BRFU), works with Dellwood Middle School and CedarBridge Academy students, providing them with support with their studies while instilling in them core values through rugby.
The programme, which was the vision of John Layfield, former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, provides an after-school homework academy, rugby training and family support services.
Two of Nathan’s close mentors, Scott Devine, a volunteer coach at Beyond Rugby, and Patrick Calow, a former youth development officer at the BRFU, were particularly proud of his achievement and watched his graduation virtually.
Mr Devine, an inspector with the Bermuda Police Service, said: “We were sitting watching it online like proud dads texting one another, particularly given the fact he’s been away from home and that the last 18 months has been a spanner in the works and a slog for everybody.
“It is a real testament to his hard work and perseverance, and to the benefits of the programme.
“He wasn’t the most naturally talented rugby player but he’s somebody who is willing to work, he is coachable, applies himself at all times and sees all the opportunities the programme gave him from the sporting realm to the academic side of things.
“Most of the children who sign up needed support academically or have some issues outside of school and need support and direction. It was really rewarding to see him come all that way to become the young man he has grown into.”
Sean Field-Lament, president of the BRFU, described Nathan as the “poster child” for Beyond Rugby.
He said: “Nathan is one of a number of many great successes, he will go on to bigger and better things. We are looking to build on that success.”
While Family Centre has been able to continue providing academic services through the Covid-19 pandemic, rugby games have not been able to take place.
The participating schools will supply information to students interested in joining the programme going forward.