Oprah Winfrey

AP Photo/Denis Farrell

It's been a long road, and three years after opening it's doors, Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa will be holding their first graduation ceremony this Saturday.

"I've learned so much...I would do it differently, but the fact that we are here is a triumph," Winfrey told ABC's Diane Sawyer on World News airing tonight. "This has been a journey of 8,000 miles. Tomorrow, for me, is about celebrating the journey this has been."

The school for disadvantaged girls took six years and $40 million for Winfrey to build before admitting students, and has definitely faced its share of trials and tribulations.

On multiple accounts, students were suspended for "inappropriate behavior" and sexual misconduct, along with a dorm matron being accused of abusing some of the girls. But through it all, the ladies of Winfrey's school have risen above, and a reported 72 students will be graduating on Saturday, with all of them headed to college and 10 percent bound for a U.S. university.

"I've just never seen a more resilient or brilliant group of girls," she said. "I mean they have a heart of brilliance. They're just so open and gracious...I'm such a proud mother. They have taken this moment, this opportunity, and seized it in a way that I could only dream of."

"I will be celebrating that [at Saturday's graduation]," Winfrey said. "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."

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