With a founder who is no stranger to success and the eyes of the world upon them, students in the first graduating class from the Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls are set to continue their studies in colleges at home in South Africa and abroad as they anxiously await the outcome of their final exams.
Although exam results won’t be out until January, the school’s principal, Anne Van Zyl, is confident that all of the girls will pass and go on to their intended institutions of higher learning.
“It will prove to South Africa that with hard work from pupils and commitment by teachers we can achieve anything, despite some pupils coming from impoverished backgrounds,” Van Zyl told the South African newspaper, The New Age.
Half of the students chosen to attend the school come from impoverished backgrounds. According to the school’s website, students are invited to attend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls “based on the ability to excel, and to move beyond challenging circumstances.” Oprah Winfrey opened the school, funded with her own money, in 2007. Just months after the school opened, however, the school endured claims of abuse when a dormitory matron was accused of indecent assault on six girls and a colleague. The woman was found innocent last year.
Among the college acceptances in the graduating class, two have been accepted to American universities, 62 have been accepted at South African universities and eight have been accepted in other countries.
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