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Anabel Garcia: Cooking, kids and love

Published: September 9, 2021   
Anabel Garcia says her days at Immaculate Conception School in Fort Smith are filled with things she loves: cooking, crafting and working with children.

Anabel Garcia, 29, wears three hats at Immaculate Conception School. 

During the day, the culinary school graduate manages the school cafeteria. When the final bell rings, she becomes the director of afterschool care and during summer break she directs the summer program. 

“When I received my associate’s degree in baking and pastries, I was diagnosed with arthritis in both my shoulders and started taking business classes at UA Fort Smith. At IC I get to spend my days doing three things I love: cooking, crafting and working with children.”

She grew up in the parish, attending religious education classes and Life Teen. 

“When I attended Search as part of the high school adoration team, I experienced the Virgin Mary as people prayed over me,” she said. “She is my heavenly mother, always holding my hand.” 

She prays in the adoration chapel every Sunday night and spreads devotion to Mary by making colorful rope rosaries and donating them to others. The Divine Mercy Chaplet became Garcia’s favorite prayer when she nursed her aunt, former Immaculate Conception preschool teacher Maria Martinez, through her final illness.

“We prayed the chaplet when she died, and we recite it every Friday at school in her memory,” Garcia said.

When not working with K-5 students during the week, Garcia works with Life Teen and young adult groups and is the social media coordinator for River Valley Catholic Young Adults, a joint ministry of five area parishes.

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