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Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa will graduate its first class this weekend.
Three years after opening, the Academy will graduate 72 girls, all of whom are heading to college with 10 percent going to U.S. schools.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News, Winfrey told Sawyer that "despite their traumatic backgrounds -- pocked with poverty, AIDS, rape, disease and death -- the students pushed forward and succeeded."
"I will be trying to take that all in and looking into the eyes of their parents who will for sure know that this poverty cycle, that the cycle of poverty, has been broken with their daughters."
The Academy opened in 2007 after six years of construction and a cost of $40 million. Built on 52 acres in Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg, Winfrey called the school "the fulfillment of my work on Earth."
According to the Daily Mail, Winfrey has been in South Africa all week meeting with the soon-to-be graduates. "I know what it's like to be a poor girl with your heart's desire to do well in the world. I chose to use my philanthropy to do what I know" and help these girls break the cycle of poverty, the television mogul said.
Despite its overall success, there have been a variety of misfortunes to hit the school since it opened. On several accounts students "were suspended for 'inappropriate behavior' and sexual misconduct, along with a dorm matron being accused of abusing some of the girls," E! Online reports.
Winfrey's effort to influence the students to take on humanitarian missions has been one of the bigger successes. The Daily Mail also says the girls have "lectured in their communities about AIDS and run breast cancer awareness campaigns in a bid to give back to those in need."
Nearly 3,000 students applied and 152 were initially selected, though numbers are now around 400 students. The boarding school will be graduating its first class Saturday.