McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 8, 2014

Student visits her former 1st-grade teacher in Enid

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It’s not often a retired teacher is paid a visit by a student now living in Scotland, but LuAnn Morris, whose teaching career took her overseas to teach on military installations, got a visit this week from a former student now a university sophomore.

Elisabetta Tolla, whose father was an Italian army officer when he was stationed at a NATO base in Belgium, was in the first-grade class of Morris, whose teaching career spanned 30 years including schools at Fairview and Enid.

A week before Christmas, Tolla contacted LuAnn and Byron Morris on Facebook to say she would be visiting Washington and wanted to come see them while in the United States.

The Morrises gladly accepted Tolla’s offer of a visit and planned a reception for her on Monday evening.

“Since I was on the same side of the ocean, I had to come see her,” Tolla said.

Little Elisabetta captured LuAnn Morris’ heart, and the feeling was mutual.

“She learned English by mid-year so she could talk to her teacher, according to her mother,” Morris said.

The Morrises and the Tolla family socialized while at the NATO base.

“My husband and I shared many enjoyable evenings with the Tollas over the next three years,” Morris said.

Then, the families kept in touch over the succeeding years.

Tolla, majoring in biology at University of Aberdeen, came to the U.S. to pay a three-week visit with a friend studying in Washington. She flew to Oklahoma City on Sunday, where the Morrises met her at the airport, and flew back to New York City on Tuesday.