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Students are highlight of National Night Out

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On any Thursday night during football season you can find Dominique Cura suited up along the sideline of a Harlandale High School freshman football game. Tuesday night, however, still dressed in his Indians workout wear, Dominique stole part of the show at National Night Out (NNO) on the grounds of Harlandale Memorial Stadium.

As music bounced off the speakers, the 15-year-old jumped into action. He ran in front of the stage, lifted his arms in excitement, smiled and started dancing. The crowd that had gathered minutes before to listen to guest speakers, stood still, watched in surprise and then smiled right back.

“He’s not shy. He loves events like this because it gives him another outlet,” said Henry Cura, Dominique’s dad.

Dominique is new to the district and although he is autistic, he is a part of an all-inclusive classroom where he receives special instruction. On October 1, he also got special attention. After about a minute dancing alone, Dominique’s two younger sisters joined him and so did several other students.

“It’s so nice to see how Harlandale has embraced him,” his dad said.

On October 1, more than 1,500 community members from across the Harlandale ISD showed just how open they are too. Hundreds of them stood and watched student groups perform, including the new cheerleading squad from Morrill Elementary. It was one of their first public performances. Families also walked around collecting information and items from more than 25 agencies. Children played games and posed for pictures with Mickey & Minnie Mouse. Others won prizes, admired the hot rods on display and enjoyed free hot dogs and snow cones. The entire event was free and hosted by Southside United Against a Violent Environment (SUAVE) in partnership with the district.

NNO at Harlandale ISD occurs simultaneously with thousands of others around the country in an effort to promote community and prevent crime. It is an important initiative Mayor Julian Castro touted when he addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for their participation. District 3 City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, State Board of Education Representative Marisa Perez, School Board President Jesse “Jay” Alaniz and Member David Abundis as well as Superintendent Rey Madrigal were also on hand.