*Oprah Winfrey has something to celebrate.

The former queen of daytime TV is proving to the world that she has made a difference in the lives of young South African women, as the first class of her $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls prepares for its first graduation.

Among her star pupils is Mpumi Nobiva, who was raised by her grandmother in a rough neighborhood. Her mother died of AIDS, but nothing has stopped her from achieving. Nobiva will be continuing her education at a college in North Carolina.

The rest of the 72 graduates have all been accepted into universities in Africa or the U.S. and more than a dozen have received full scholarships.

The first class is a monumental moment not only for the school, but also for the critics of the celebrity built institution.

After the school drew a lot of negative press, this success is sure to help rebuild the school’s reputation.

“The first class, my class, will prove that,” said Nobiva, 18, who will study visual and performing arts at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.