Oprah’s School Produces First Class of Graduates


Students will attend colleges in both South Africa and the U.S.

Posted: 12/01/2011 11:13 AM EST
Oprah Winfrey, South Africa, abuse, Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey,student graduates

From her groundbreaking talk show to her book clubs to movies and her own network, Oprah Winfrey has done it all. Now, she’s officially made her contribution to the next generation of scholars by producing her very first student dream team.


The Washington Post is reporting that the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy’s first graduating class is made up of 72 young women and the soon-to-be former pupils have all been accepted to universities in both South Africa and the United States. 


Winfrey spent $40 million dollars of her own money outfitting her girls’ campus with computer and science labs, a library and wellness center. Not one youth who attended had to pay tuition and most of them came from struggling communities all still reeling from generations of apartheid.


Despite its many triumphs, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy hasn’t been without controversy. A former dormitory matron for the school who was accused of abusing teens was acquitted last year. And in early 2011, an OWLA student gave birth to a newborn that was found dead. Both stories made headlines around the world.


Winfrey, who has made regular visits to her school since it opened in 2007, will be in attendance for her school’s graduation ceremony in January when the South African school year ends.


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(Photo: Courtesy oprah.com)

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