Monday, October 15, 2018
By Hayes Photography
Pin It

The story of how this image came to be is not to be believed, but that's for another day.

Cory and I met several years ago when I was working at Willink Middle School.  We just kind of hit it off.  When I needed a few models to participate in a photography education event held by the Greater Rochester Professional Photographers organization, Cory was ready and willing to help me out  We've been friends ever since and have had many a conversation about fun things to do in Rochester, great restaurants and what we did over the weekend. What's so cool about our relationship is that he's my son's age, but we operate as friends instead of a mom/son thing. 

As this photography project began, I knew that I wanted a diverse group of people to participate in sharing their stories.  I felt that Cory would be a great addition. After conversation and several months of considering image ideas, we honed in on this concept that really does justice to the struggles he's been going through. 

In his words:



An Introspective Vignette


Success is certain.

But only when the path to the top is clearly defined.

Each milestone perfectly staggered, building off each other to propel you onto the next big thing.

As a society, we have mapped this progression out for our adolescents. You know what needs to be done to get ahead.

License, check; Graduate from high school, check; Get accepted into college, check. Graduate from college, check.

First “real” job, check. First apartment, check. Get a Master’s Degree, check.

What they don’t tell you is that the milestones become less frequent, more loosely defined, and then all together stop.

Who do you become when there is nowhere left to go and nothing left to check off?

The path no longer has the appropriate signage and trailheads. It’s not freshly paved. You start to encounter the forks in the roads a little more often, forced to pick a direction.

Eventually those forks become full-blown, four-way crossroads and to check off another milestone takes a leap of faith.

Here I stand now, 26 years old, a novella of milestones and check marks behind me and no idea what direction I will go in next. Overwhelmed. Apprehensive. Lost.

No matter the path I take, I know one thing:

Success is certain.


Cory Gomez

Teacher on Special Assignment

Webster Thomas and Schroeder High Schools

If you enjoyed this story, check out my other stories on previous posts and be sure to find out about the original idea HERE .  Oh yeah, be sure to leave a comment too!

Monday, October 01, 2018
By Hayes Photography
Pin It

Mary Beth, an art teacher at Klem South Elementary, and I met after the call went out for interested participants in my personal photography project.  She was curious to know what it was all about, and truly does believe that we all have a story.  

Originally, my photography project was to have been about the stories of individuals from the Webster Central School District. Upon meeting Mary Beth, I knew my idea needed to expand. The love of her family was her focus.  Family, is her everything.  Her story began upon meeting her wonderful husband, Dino.  They have two adorable girls, Natalie and Melina and welcomed me warmly into their home to try to figure out what Mary Beth's story might be.

Always active and involved in athletic pursuits, Mary Beth shared that there was a time she was unable to be active and enjoy interests such as skiing.  She and her husband had loved skiing together and with the girls and she really missed it.  We decided that a family portrait in the snow might be just the right image to convey that family-time togetherness.  Combining that and her love of skiing sounded perfect.  The only problem was waiting for the right weather to match everyone's schedules.  I think we got it right.

In her words:

“Snowflakes are one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together.”

Every day is a lovely adventure when gratitude leads the way.  Becoming parents completely changed us. The intoxicating love that enraptured our every cell when each of our daughters was born still takes our breath away.  In a way, we've been preparing for becoming parents our whole lives and yet each day we feel a little underprepared. Facing each day with enormous amounts of gratitude for each other, for our health, and for our adventures together makes the practice of parenting feel less vulnerable.  This life is every dream we never knew we had, and these two girls completely light up our world. When we stick together just like snowflakes, love and gratitude lead the way, and we know we can handle this parenting adventure with grace.


Mary Beth Vasalos


Klem South Elementary


To find out more about this project, please click Here and make sure to view the WHEC-TV 10 Story

Make sure to leave a comment while you're at it!