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Claremore pharmacy volunteers employee to area schools to help with teacher shortage

Posted at 4:27 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 20:50:42-04

CLAREMORE, Okla. -- The struggle with education in Oklahoma is far from over, but glimmers of hope continue to shine from community to community.

And this week, that hope comes from a Claremore pharmacy, who is dedicating one worker's time and paycheck to volunteer in schools.

Bennett's Route 66 Pharmacy just hired an executive assistant to help out with some daily tasks. However, this new hire comes with a whole bag of skills, ones the pharmacy doesn't mind sharing.

They say its the busiest pharmacy in Claremore. Also a  pharmacy known for its Oklahoma standards, always giving back to the community. And this time it’s tackling Oklahoma's education crisis.

“It just breaks my heart because I know we are losing some really great teachers because of everything that is going on with education in Oklahoma,” Gabriela Fernandez, Executive Assistant at Bennett’s Route 66 Pharmacy, said.

You can call her Rogers county's new, “To the Rescue”, teacher's aid.

“I'm thankful that [the owner’s] are volunteering me to go out to the schools and be that extra set of hands for those teachers,” Fernandez said.

She found herself on a different career path after teaching elementary school in Sapulpa for two years, but she's still certified by the state to teach and her heart for teaching children has only grown.

“I get to do a little bit of both that I really like,” Fernandez said. “This is great. I get to work here, and I really enjoy working here, but at the same time, I get to still help out those teachers and interact with the kiddos."

She’ll be alleviating overworked teachers at no cost to the school because the pharmacy is footing the bill, paying Fernandez’s salary.

“I realized since I was a teacher… how much an extra pair of hands can help,” Fernandez said.

And as an added bonus, she’s bilingual, offering to bridge the gap for the Hispanic community.

The offer is specific to Rogers County and Fernandez will only be able to dedicate a day or so a week to the cause. Because after all the pharmacy is still her primary job.

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CLAREMORE, Okla. -- The struggle with education in Oklahoma is far from over, but glimmers of hope continue to shine from community to community.