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Oprah's South African School: First Graduating Class

Juju Chang follows Oprah Winfrey's emotional journey building school for girls.
3:00 | 10/14/12

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Transcript for Oprah's South African School: First Graduating Class
Test Text1 underline Test Text1 itali ♪ You put my love on top top top ♪ forbes magazine estimates that oprah has given $400 million to education. In an exclusive interview with abc's juju chang, oprah talked about the journey with her school for girls in africa, where the first class recently graduated. I have never been more proud. I think you all were exemplary. Reporter: Oprah always finds time for the girls at the oprah winfrey leadership academy. Are you happier? Busier? What has brought me the greatest joy. Being a real mother, friend, companion, adviser, comforter. I didn't know that I would love it so much. Reporter: The maternal bonding began five years ago as a leap of philanthropic faith. What is the single, life-changing trajectory changing moment for me was being exposed to a world of education. So, I just wanted to do that for somebody else. Reporter: Out of thousands of applicants, oprah hand-picked 72 girls. Think that you are good enough. Reporter: Girls that experienced trauma and hardships. Girls like a young oprah winfrey. This is not unlike the way you grew up. At the time I grew up in mississippi, it was very much like south africa. Segregated schools, no running water, no electricity. You'll be part of the very first class of the oprah winfrey school. Reporter: One of the momts that so captured the gap you're trying to bridge is when they react to the plumbing. Oh, yeah. That is one of my favorite moments. Reporter: Me, too. Talk about favorite things. They were excited about the plumbing. I can take a shower. I don't have to go and find buckets of water. I can flush the toilet! Reporter: But there was scandal. A female dorm adviser was charged with molesting the some of the girls, oprah fired flew to africa to personally apologize. You learn from mistakes. If I had to do it over again, i probably would haven't done hit the way. Reporter: The documentary, the first graduating class, follows the girls' journey. Was think about this day with them, walking in triumph across this stage in their white dresses. Ladies and gentlemen, the class of 2011. Reporter: So like any nervous mom sending kids off to college, six of them in the u.S., shopping for dorm finishings with them left her feeling like an empty nester. The firstmorning, we were all going, I can't believe I'm weeping over target and bed, bath, & beyond. The minute we were shopping if for college dorms. The moment it hit me. Reporter: It's been a long journey, too, for oprah. Her cable net work has struggled but is recently attracting more viewers. I look at it as I was climbing kilimanjaro. I had my head to the ground and one foot in front of the other. Now, I can see the summit. Reporter: Isn't that nice. I can see the summit. Reporter: For "good morning america," I'm juju chang in washington, d.C.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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