Posts with tag: "stories"
Thursday, May 28, 2020
By Hayes Photography
Pin It

Balance in Our Time


The system is broken; we need to change. Develop, innovate, multitask, push forward because we are being left behind. Other countries will overtake us and we will be in a vulnerable position.  Work longer hours, do more homework, join more activities, be part of social learning networks, and respond to all information immediately. Our system is failing our kids and our society. These are the messages that we play over and over in our heads as educators, parents, and ultimately pass along to our kids.

Our present reality is that we live in a world of increasing accelerations. The pace of change, coupled with world events, can produce anxiety leading to confusion, frustration, and a sense of being overwhelmed. My roles as a school counselor, assistant principal, and current director of technology have uniquely afforded me opportunities to view these changes over time in our community. The rapid changes have, at times, been personally overwhelming to me.

In my life, finding a sense of balance and peace often starts with my family and nature. The human and natural sides of life are the leverage pieces that help focus my priorities and bring me back into balance. Introspection and intentional thoughts can shine a light on important issues related to being a better husband, father, and person. The cultural barrage of increasing accelerations, troubling news, and pace of life can have an adverse effect on any of us. I try to remind myself to slow down, remember the important aspects of life, and hopefully live a good life. 

 Maybe when the day is overwhelming or you find yourself spiraling, you can pause, slow down, and remember the important things that will bring you balance too! We are all striving to find a sense of peace and harmony. My personal balance is the four people in my family and the Adirondack Mountains. Go find yours!

Joe Montemaro

Director of Technology

Webster Central School District

I want to thank, not only Joe, but his entire family for allowing me to photograph them at their home. Joe and I met early on over coffee, discussing the story and coming up with various visual concepts. Ultimately, we decided on this one and I believe, as does Joe, that it works to convey his message. 

Thanks for visiting the blog and feel free to leave Joe a comment! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2020
By Hayes Photography
Pin It

“You have cancer!” 

It was a devastating diagnosis which I received over four years ago.  A diagnosis that left me reeling, and questioning everything. The biggest question of all: Why me? 

Answering this question forced me to take the time to think about all aspects of my life, including how I neglected my health for so long. I realized that I put everyone else’s needs in front of my own.  I filled my days at work helping others and taking care of my family while ignoring my own needs, until I was forced to face this diagnosis and reflect on my life. Taking time to prioritize myself and accepting help was very difficult. At one point in my journey I came across a statement that said “to heal, you must take care of yourself and this requires self love”.  This took some serious work and reflection, for if you truly love yourself, you take care of your body, accept help, and do things that make you happy. This was the most powerful healing advice I have received! This helped me to change my perspective on all aspects of my life. I began to feel more empathy and kindness towards others. I recognized the depth of my love for my husband and two daughters and how much they mean to me.  I leaned into my faith and deepened my relationship with the Lord, feeling immense gratitude for the blessings in my life. I experienced true happiness in an entirely new way. How can you be happy when you have cancer? Is this truly my blessing? I believe it is! I see others for the worth that they have, I love deeper and have faith that overcomes my fear. Someone once said “hurt people hurt people”. Wow! What an insightful statement. When I look at our society, I see people who are hurt, filled with anger, hatred and ready for a fight. I believe if everyone could love themselves, it would heal their hearts, and our world would be a better place. So I challenge you to truly love yourself.  It is a blessing! 


Sandy McCormack

Special Education Teacher 

Willink Middle School (retired Spring 2019)


As of this posting, Andy (Sandy's husband) has shared in Caring Bridge (click here) that Sandy has been having a particularly difficult time through this devastating pandemic. I wanted to let her, Andy and the girls know that I'm thinking of them, praying for them and sending them positive thoughts and love. 

Update (7/17/20):  Andy shared last night that Sandy has returned to her final home with Jesus. A light has gone out that will never be turned on again. Sandy's inspirational humor and spirit through her darkest time has spread to so many that knew her. I am forever grateful to her for opening up her heart to me and to her family I wish peace and strength, love and prayers.

If you're part of Sandy's community of family and friends (and even if you're not), feel free to leave Andy and the girls a comment and/or words of support and love. <3