graduation speech

graduation speech

The First Students Graduate from Oprah Winfrey’s School in South Africa

Image via Oprah's Facebook page

Oprah Winfrey's School for Girls

Five years ago, Oprah Winfrey opened a school in South Africa for underprivileged girls. On January 14, 2011, the first class of girls graduated from the school and Oprah was there to watch them and offer the graduation speech.

During her graduation speech, Oprah told the girls that they were now “free to soar.” She also offered praise and recognition for the teachers, family members, social workers, and everyone else who has helped make this dream a reality for the girls. For many young people in South Africa, poverty and personal traumas make it impossible for them to become educated. Some of these personal traumas include violence, the death of one or even both parents, molestation, and grief, according to Oprah.

Originally, 75 girls were part of this class of graduating girls. Of those 75, all but three walked across the stage and are now planning to attend universities in the USA and South Africa.

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2011 Celebrity Commencement Speakers

Students throwing their hats at GraduationAs we draw near to the end of the academic year and graduation approaches, many colleges have already announced the keynote speakers for commencement. Many colleges and universities invite successful alumni to give the graduation address, others simply pick notable and inspiring individuals to give matriculating students a few words of wisdom.

We’ve rounded up some some of the notable 2011 commencement speakers from around the country. We’ll be updating this list as more speakers are announced.

George Washington University – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Hamilton College – Former Vice President Al Gore

Harvard University – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Miami-Dade College – President Barack Obama

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