HOUSTON, TX - Graduating from the University of Houston-Downtown was a little extra special for Crisia Morales.
Morales had this goal in mind ever since giving birth to her daughter in 2006.
"Eight years ago, I was a teen mom. I was a sophomore in high school and I got pregnant and had my daughter at 15," Morales said. "When we were in the hospital, I was looking at her, and it was just me and her. I told her, 'I promise you that I'm not going to be one more statistic. I promise you I'm going to do everything I can to succeed. I'm going to go to school and graduate to give you a better life.'
But following up on that promise didn't come easy. Morales overcame two tumors in her neck, and just on Monday had to have surgery to remove her gallbladder.
"Monday night when they told me, I said 'no you can't. I can't have surgery today, I'm graduating on Saturday.' But, I'm here," Morales pointed out from the field at Minute Maid Park, where UHD had its ceremony.
Morales admits the only motivation she needed was trying to make a better life for her children, Emily and Ermy Jr.
"It was two, three in the morning on weekdays doing homework, and I would go up to their bedroom and look at them. I would realize, I can't stop, just having them and keeping that promise."
Saturday, Morales completed that promise. She's already landed a job as a first grade teacher at Treasure Forest Elementary.
"Starting January, it's going to be brand new, everything. I fulfilled what I'd promised eight years ago. We're starting fresh," Morales concluded.