Teacher and Pupil Reunite as Peers at Trevecca After 30 Years

| Faculty

A young Aaron Hall hugs Yolanda Taylor-Statom at her wedding.Aaron Hall, associate professor of exercise science, and Yolanda Taylor-Statom, director of teacher education in the School of Education, never expected to see each other again until a chance meeting one day on The Hill. In the following conversation, they tell the story of how they were acquainted years ago, and how they happened to reconnect at Trevecca.

Yolanda: I’ve been an adjunct at Trevecca since 2005, but I only started full time recently, so I’ve been spending more time on campus than I had before. One day Aaron walked up to me and I immediately thought ‘where do I know him from?’ He said, ‘excuse me, did you used to be Ms. Taylor?’ and that’s when it clicked: I had taught him in the first grade.

Aaron: She taught me in Knoxville, at Bluegrass Elementary School, 29 years ago, but I still remembered. I had my mom find pictures of the two of us so I could show her.

Yolanda: As soon as he said he had been in my class, I knew exactly who he was. His face is still the same, just a little more facial hair. In school, he was very quiet and he loved to read. He was one of those kids who never wanted to get in trouble. The whole class was great that year, and when I got engaged, I invited them to my wedding.

Aaron: It was about an hour away but we drove there and I loved it. I took a picture with her and [her husband] Leland. I still have the napkin from that wedding. My mom kept it in a scrapbook. When I would get nostalgic over the years, I would flip through that book and I would always pass that napkin.

Yolanda: Aaron and his family gave me a beautiful bowl as a wedding present. I still have it. It is hand-painted and we only pull it out for special occasions. His mother told me, ‘Aaron picked that bowl out all by himself so I hope you like it.’

I moved after I got married and Aaron moved as well, and then all these years later in Nashville, we found each other.

Aaron: When I first saw her it was a shock. The fact that my first grade teacher was my coworker was just incredible. I wanted her to know how influential she had been in my life and continues to be.

My background is as a practicing clinician so I didn’t know the first thing about lesson plans. Now all of a sudden I had this resource, this person I could go to for support.

Yolanda: And the support goes both ways. A full-time faculty role is a whole different animal from what I was doing before. The biggest thing to get used to is not just teaching, but things like committees and balancing your time. I go to Aaron because he understands those demands. Of course, he’s also a physical therapist, so he can always help with my aches and pains.

The fact that we would both wind up halfway across the state in Nashville and as colleagues at Trevecca is amazing.