Posts with tag: "special education"
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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My husband and I rescued Julius (then, “Cotton”) 5 years ago from Lollypop Farm. He looked nothing like himself. Long, matted hair, underweight frame, and the saddest eyes. Julius’ humanesque eyes made me fall in love instantly. He spoke about his fear and pain through his eyes. Previously abused and neglected, it took a bit of time for Julius to approach people, to not flinch when someone reached out a hand too quickly, and to learn how to fetch. Over a year, we helped him transform back into the dog he is today. When comparing pictures from the day we brought him home and from a year later, the physical changes are undeniable...especially in his eyes. 

Those who interact with Julius always make the same comment: “He is so calm”. Not a common characteristic of Golden-doodles; I have to believe his past shaped that part of him. His calmness is the reason we pursued therapy dog certification. Therapy dogs in schools are well supported by the research, citing benefits such as reducing anxiety, facilitating communication, and improving reading confidence. From every student interaction with Julius comes the opportunity to share his story, and in sharing his story I believe he has taught students some valuable life lessons that just cannot be captured in the research.

1. Be sure to make time to play.

2. Always get excited when someone you love walks into the room.

3. Essentials to being happy: eating, exercise, playing, cuddling, napping

4. Joy is found in the simplest things.

5. You are allowed to feel sad when someone you care about leaves. It is okay to wait for them to 

    come back.

6. Forgive quickly and fully.

7. Trust can always be regained with a little patience and a lot of love. There are no lost causes. 

8. Second chances change lives. 

I feel so much joy and fulfillment when watching students’ faces light up the moment Julius walks into a class, or hearing “I so needed this!” after spending a few quiet moments with him. Julius’ presence at Schroeder is just as therapeutic to me as it is to the students. He loves many things: rolling in the grass, playing with tennis balls, going for walks. But one of his favorite things is being surrounded by a group of people who are giving him all their attention and love. In those moments, there is no past or future. There is no judgement. Race, religion, gender, not exist. It is only the presence of love that matters.


Hannah Formella

Speech Pathologist Teacher

Webster Schroeder High School



Dog Therapist

Webster Schroeder High School

It was so much fun working on this portrait with Hannah and Julius! The smiles on the student's faces when Julius arrived made it so clear why dog therapy is such a valuable resource in our schools. 

Let us know what you think and make sure to say hi to this dynamic duo!


Thursday, April 04, 2019
By Hayes Photography
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Peggy Green is a special education teacher at Webster Thomas HS.  However, like so many of us, she is much more than the work position she fills. When we sat down to discuss her life and what her story might be, she touched on all that has made her who she is today. We finally settled on a few aspects of her story that we felt said it best; her health and the necessity to multi-manage the various branches of her life.  Many can identify and empathize with Peggy because juggling the work, family, health triangle is something we deal with every day.  Her dedication as a teacher, love of family,  and sense of humor certainly help get her through the rough times.

In her words:

 "Always juggling and never settling.  These two phrases are the essences to who I am.  As the oldest daughter I helped with dinner, did my chores, got good grades, helped with my siblings, and today check on my dad.  As a wife, I love, support, and respect my husband. As a mom, my kids hopes and dreams always came first, but what about me? My health, my dreams, my hopes.  Just like a juggler, the ball that is my health gets thrown way up in the air to deal with later while I juggle the others balls, daughter, wife, mom, that are my life.  A degree at 43, a job that I love at 48, and heart surgery at 50 because that ball finally fell from the air. Despite everything, I still keep juggling and promise to never settle.  Always looking at the future."

Peggy Green

Special Education Teacher

Webster Thomas High School

Thank you for visiting my blog. Make sure to share the love to Peggy with a comment.

This entry is the last of the 2018 project. I want to thank each and every participant for opening up their life to me, for being brave in sharing their stories and trusting me with the visuals.  I have grown so much as a photographer and creative as a result of this project and am extremely proud of the body of work I've created.  Work has begun on part 2 so stay tuned!

For more information about this project, check out the WHEC-TV 10 story Here