London: The whole batch of 72 students from Oprah Winfrey’s South African school have graduated and the brightest are off to various universities in the U.S.
Oprah had opened her Leadership Academy For Girls School in Henley-on-Klip, South Africa, in 2007.
The 57-year-old had spent 40million dollars to give her girls a campus with computer and science labs, a library and a wellness centre at the school, where none of the students paid tuition fees.
All the students were high-achievers, mostly from communities where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.
As the South African school year nears its end, all the members of the school’s first graduating class have been accepted by universities in South Africa or the U.S, with more than a dozen receiving full scholarships.
Winfrey had told her students that when you teach a girl, you teach a nation.
The media mogul will be at the school for graduation ceremonies in January, according to the school officials.
The school has at times been at the receiving end of harsh attention because of its celebrity founder, and also due to the early problems that they faced.
Students have been accused of being spoiled, while allegations that a woman employed to care for the girls in their dormitory had instead abused teens were the subject of headlines around the world, however, the woman was acquitted last year.
Earlier this year, a baby born to a student at the school was found dead, again drawing international attention.
“Yes, we’ve had bad coverage,” the Daily Mail quoted Mpumi Nobiva, a graduating student as saying.
“But it has certainly made us stronger,” she said.
Winfrey, who often visits her school, has instilled a sense of purpose in the students.
“You can imagine the impact of girls with that insight going out into the universe,” she added.