Oprah Winfrey founded her all-girls South African leadership academy in 2007 and more than 10 years later, she’s admitting she is considering opening an all-girls school in America.
Winfrey made the revelation during “Between the Scenes,” an online segment that is filmed as “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” tapes for Comedy Central. An audience member asked if the media mogul would open a school in the U.S. and Winfrey responded in the affirmative.
“Yes, I’m actually thinking about it,” she says in the April 10 video, her response getting lots of cheers from the audience. “I’m also thinking about where.
“The reason why I called it the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa is because even then I was thinking this will just be one, this will be the satellite school and then I will do others,” she continues. “But it’s taken me awhile to get it right. It’s taken me about 10 years to actually get it right.”
Winfrey’s school, which is just outside Johannesburg, serves underprivileged girls in grades 8–12 who reside in nine provinces throughout South Africa. By attending the school, the girls are able to learn skills to go into careers in medicine, public service and architecture, Variety reported in 2017.
“My hope was that I would give them an opportunity to see the best of themselves reflected through an open mind, an open heart, to what is possible,” Winfrey told the industry trade publication. “And I can honestly say I have achieved that.”
More than a decade on, the school has seen seven classes graduate, with the newest one earning their diplomas in December 2018. That year, 100 percent of the students went on to enroll in colleges and universities in South Africa, like The University of Witswatersrand (Johannesburg) and the University of Pretoria.
Graduates also have taken their education abroad, matriculating in schools in the U.S., including Spelman College in Atlanta and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.