Prom night she'll never forget (video)
April 11, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.
CUERO - Jennifer Zinke, 18, held her boyfriend's hand tightly as the setting sun peeked between their fingers at Cuero Park.
Her closest friends trailed behind them wearing splashes of green, pink, blue and silver.
John Nel, 21, said he met Zinke last summer while purchasing a Fanta from the Tractor Supply Company in Cuero where she works as a cashier.
"She asked me, 'Is that all for you?' and I said, 'Actually no, I'd also like your number," Nel said in a thick Australian accent.
The wind gusted through the Prom Princess' dark brown curls as she and her friends posed for pictures in the park.
Last month, Zinke was named the Victoria Advocate's Prom Princess after readers voted her the winner from three candidates.
As part of the contest, the track athlete won a sponsored prom package. She received her dress, makeup, hair styling, flowers, transportation and dinner free-of-charge.
In February, her older sister Amanda Lu Montez, 24, was diagnosed with cancer, a reality which made Zinke's chances at being able to afford her senior prom slim.
Her mother, Denise Zinke, 42, had wrapped up coordinating a fundraiser for her eldest daughter's hospital expenses when the family got the news about Zinke's prom mini-miracle.
Zinke met her friends at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Cuero to hop onto a pink party bus to start their evening.
The teens jammed to Sir Mix-A-Lot, Bruno Mars and Lil' Wayne on their way to the park.
Tyler Constable, 17, said ever since Zinke won the contest, everyone at Cuero High School nicknamed her "Prom Princess."
"We've been friends since freshman English," Tyler said. "We're all so happy for her."
After taking photos at the park, the students had dinner at the Eagleford Restaurant in Cuero.
Plates of escargot and shrimp were served as appetizers.
Zinke reached over for a kiss from her date just before the group blessed their meals.
An elegant plate of pork chops and crawfish mash potatoes sat before the Cinderella.
Once the ceramic plates were polished off, Zinke and her entourage arrived at the Cuero prom minutes before the doors closed at 9 p.m.
"I would just like to thank everybody who voted for me," Zinke said. "It was a lot, and I'll never forget it."
Other Prom Princess Coverage: