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A special night in Sterling

Published: Sunday, May 5, 2013 10:08 p.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Alax poses for pictures with Gabby and Tyler before heading to prom. The three pals received an outpouring of support from the community: Whiteside County State's Attorney Trish Joyce donated the limo, photographer Heather Lanell donated her services and an anonymous donor bought them a meal at Basil Tree Ristorante in Dixon. Gabby's grandmother, Maria DeLaFuente, made her pretty-in- pink dress, and residents at Avonlea Cottage in Sterling bought their flowers.
(Alex T. Paschal/
Gabby DeLaFuente, 18, works the room at Avonlea Cottage with her aunt, Minerva DeLaFuente, Saturday evening. Gabby, a special needs student at Sterling High School, attended the prom with her friend Tyler Johnson, 18, also a special needs student, and Alax Browning, an SHS junior who invited the two to share the night with her. Browning's mother, Teresa Moser, and Gabby's aunt work at Avonlea, where residents donated money for flowers and a boutonniere.
(Alex T. Paschal/
Tyler strikes a pose after coming off the stage at the prom at Centennial Auditorium Saturday night. "You're the man tonight, Tyler," the announcer said.

Alax Browning, an Sterling High School junior invited two special needs students  Gabby DeLaFuente, 18, and Tyler Johnson, 18,  to share prom night with her Saturday. 

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