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Prom Princess enjoys 'night in paradise' (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
May 15, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.
Updated May 18, 2014 at 12:18 a.m.

Prom Princess contest winner Ashley Green, left, makes sure her date JR Castillo, right, voted for her for Victoria West prom queen at Spring Creek Place Event Center  in Victoria.

Ashley Green blushed as her prom date, Manuel Castillo Jr., who goes by JR, wrapped his finger around her pinky.

"We're prom besties," JR, 17, said. "I feel very blessed that she chose me."

Ashley, 20, and JR dined on breaded shrimp and chicken nachos at The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar just a few hours before their big night.

Ashley was this year's Prom Princess, a Victoria Advocate tradition featuring an all-expenses-paid prom package supported by area businesses partners.

The dynamic duo started their prom journey May 10 at the gazebo in DeLeon Plaza.

Ashley, who has Down syndrome, met JR in her special education class at Victoria West High School, where he was developing his study skills.

JR said that although he is not special needs, he would like to work as a special education teaching assistant after graduating high school.

"I want to be a hero for special needs students," JR said. "I try to prove to others that even a student like Ashley can rock the stage."

The sun beat down brightly on a crystal snow globe encased in a fairy-tale carriage - JR's gift to his Cinderella.

"This has to be one of the most blissful moments I've ever had," said JR, sweating in his suit while underneath the downtown gazebo.

Ashley's father, Tim Green, couldn't hold back his tears of joy as he watched his oldest daughter unwrap the gift.

"Ashley looks so pretty," her father said. "She picked out the right dress."

As Prom Princess, Ashley went through several preparatory stages, which included selecting the right dress, hairstyle and makeup.

Ashley planted a soft kiss on her father's cheek before heading out to dinner.

"Mom, my ticket - don't forget," Ashley shouted to her mother, Varchia Green.

After a few final bites into a key lime cheesecake, Ashley and her date made their escape to Spring Creek Place Event Center.

Inside the hall, bright turquoise popped against the white tablecloths. The Victoria West prom had the theme "A Night in Paradise."

As the couple walked in arm in arm, JR said, "Hold on, Ashley," as he took her purse and disposable camera from her to carry.

Once the music began to play, Ashley and JR were instantly on the dance floor, swaying to the country song, "Gettin' You Home" by Chris Young.

As JR spun Ashley in the center of the ballroom, her half-moon gown skirt rose, fluttering in the air.

Before the end of the night, Ashley was voted into the Victoria West Prom Court as a duchess.

"I'm just so happy," Ashley said. "I love all of this."

Related stories:

Victoria West senior wins Prom Princess contest (w/video)

Prom Princess: Pick your favorite gown

Help Ashley choose her hairstyle

Prom Princess: Help Ashley pick perfect makeup look



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