An emotional and proud Oprah Winfrey celebrated the first graduating class of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa on Saturday.
One hundred percent of the graduates have been accepted to college or university, and more than a dozen have received full scholarships.
"The pride that I feel today is overpowering," Winfrey told her guests, who included the students, their parents and relatives. "I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission. This class will prove that when you invest in the leadership of girls, you invest in a nation."
Winfrey also thanked Nelson Mandela, who served as an inspiration in establishing the school. "I want to thank Nelson Mandela for his leadership and support to help make this school a reality. Although he is not present with us today, I know he shares with us the same sense of pride and accomplishment," said Winfrey.
The OWN mogul opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg in 2007, in the presence of Nelson Mandela. Nearly 3,000 girls from impoverished backgrounds and broken families applied. Only 150 of the best and brightest were selected.