Legally blind woman overcomes challenges to earn degree from UHD

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on May 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Updated Sunday, May 19 at 4:23 PM

HOUSTON – Among all the caps and gowns at the University of Houston-Downtown’s graduation ceremonies, there was one woman caught everybody’s attention Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

Her walk across the stage marked a milestone in a long, long journey. It is one of those moments that makes your heart race. Smiles, tears and pride were everywhere, especially for Alma Balleza. In her late 40s, Balleza lost her job.

“So I decided to push myself and go back to college,” Balleza, now 51, said.

But there would be challenges for Balleza. She was raising three boys and getting here has been tough.

“She would get just really frustrated at points, but seeing her get through is really paying off,” Miguel Balleza, her son, said.

What made going back to school even more challenging than usual is the fact that she is legally blind.

“So even to do my homework, even though I had the technology still, because on the computer I would lose the cursor, and I had to find it again,” Balleza said.

Balleza began losing her eyesight at a very early age. But nothing was about to stop her from graduating from a university even at the age of 51.

Balleza earned her criminal justice and business degree with high honors. One tough mom -- a walking stick in one hand and a diploma in the other -- Belleza is ready to continue conquering the world.

She is now hoping to work for the FBI or an agency that investigates workman’s comp cases.

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