JERSEY CITY — Vikki Serrano, 18, still remembers her time in foster care from ages 3 through 7.
That "sticks with you," she says.
Fortunately, life is smooth-sailing for her now, she said — and about to get even better Friday.
The senior will soon have her own real-life Cinderalla moment: A date with New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.
"I'm excited! How many girls can say they're going to prom with a professional football player?" asked Serrano, who attends Jersey City's William L. Dickinson High School. "I'm going to remember every detail... Prom itself is already exciting."
William L. Dickinson High School senior Vikki Serrano, 18, can't wait for prom. (Photo courtesy of Serrano)
Weatherford has made a name for himself and his charitable organization by making students' prom dreams come true. This year, the Hoboken resident announced that he had chosen Dickinson High as the second school for his Project Prom - through which a few lucky seniors get an all-expense paid prom, including hair, clothes and makeup.
The New York Giants also paid to reduce the cost of prom tickets for Dickinson High School seniors from $100 to $30.
Serrano asked Weatherford to prom in front of her school when he visited on April 1 via Skype. Weatherford previously went to prom last year with Bayonne High School senior Lauren Delbert.
If Weatherford cannot meet Serrano at her house before the prom, he will reportedly be meeting her for photos at the school on Friday at 5:45 p.m., along with the five winners.
Serrano said she was invited to ask Weatherford to prom by school administrators, who asked if she already had a date.
"Vikki is a phenomenal girl and she has a fantastic personality. She also happened to be attending the prom solo, so it really was a match made in heaven," explained senior class advisor John Barth.
Punter Steve Weatherford, NY Giants helping pay for Jersey City prom
"I'm really looking forward to prom," Weatherford said in a statement. "I'm not that far removed from when I went to prom at my high school and I remember what a special experience it was. I want to provide the same to the students of William Dickinson High."
Serrano, who doesn't yet have college plans, is considering going into social work or health and exercise science. In both regards, helping people, and health, she said she takes inspiration from Weatherford.
"The fact that [Weatherford]'s such an advocate for these charities is such an inspirational thing. I want to be another child's inspiration," she said. "I feel like that should be everyone's goal in life."
But Serrano is already an inspirational girl.
She's a cheerleader, a member of the "B Bold, B Urself" club (a club about "welcoming everyone who feels out of place," she said), the Student Advisory club, and Key club.
Serrano's mother Alba Canales, a counselor, is thrilled for her daughter.
"You want to talk about miracles beyond measures?" she said of her daughter's date with Weatherford. "She's an amazing, wonderful child, and I'm so proud of her... She has definitely blown me away to have been able to overcome that part of her life and to be able to put it past her. I'm so proud of her and I love her beyond, beyond anything she can ever imagine."
Laura Herzog | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com | May 7, 2015