Born and raised in New York City by her single mother, Christina Deleon Acosta, and her siblings were brought up in a very traditional household. Eventually joining the army, Christina spent seven years of her life in an abusive marriage. She had been told that she was not capable or smart enough to complete school. After some life changes, she remarried and moved to San Antonio with her children.

Unsure of what to do after moving, her husband enrolled in the Medical Assistant program at Hallmark University, encouraging her to enroll as well. After witnessing how much her husband enjoyed attending Hallmark, Christina enrolled in the Business Program. A week before her first class began, Christina heard a voice inside her telling her not to, that she wasn’t smart enough and that she couldn’t do it. As she was preparing to cancel her classes, she was encouraged by her husband to persevere as he knew what a strong, smart woman she was.

“He told me that I’m capable, and I’m always doubting myself and saying I can’t do this, I can’t do that, and he said “you don’t even have a degree and you’re smarter than me. Go to school, do what you have to do.” So I decided to give it a try and see how it goes.”

After getting back multiple assignments with perfect scores, Christina discovered a new drive that pushed her to continue her college career. But life is unpredictable, and there were moments that prevented Christina from attending class and completing assignments. Unsure of what to do, she spoke with her professors about her problems and was surprised by their responses. Instructors gave their personal phone numbers to Christina, telling her to call if something ever came up, reassuring her that they wanted to make sure that she succeeded and did not fail.

“When I was going to school in the army, I didn’t have that, and I was always afraid,” she said. “But going to Hallmark, it never felt like school, it felt like a family, and it’s what kept me here.”

Christina is the first in her family to graduate from a University with a Bachelor’s Degree, an outstanding achievement in her family. When her mother heard the news, she began crying, and told her “you’re my first one.”

When asked what was next for her, Christina had this to say: “The instructors and students at Hallmark have been phenomenal, which has really added to me wanting to come back, so I’m going to be shooting for my Master’s Degree with Hallmark University.”