Gayle returns from a two-week summer vacation, eager to share the details of exactly what she did and who she saw! Joining her in the studio is her son, Will, who traveled with Gayle over the break to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. From an unforgettable outing with the students to a moving poetry recital, Gayle and Will share some highlights of their trip with listeners.
As a special treat for the students of the Leadership Academy, Oprah took the entire student body to dinner and the opening night performance of the musical The Lion King. Gayle and Will accompanied the girls, who she says sang their hearts out as they traveled by bus to the star-studded affair.
When they arrived, Gayle and Will both say the girls were the center of attention as they walked the red carpet leading into the theater. "It was really good because everyone was just focused on them," Will says.
Gayle says The Lion King was the first theater production most of the students had ever seen in their lives. Afterwards, one eighth-grader who is an aspiring actress herself told Gayle, "It was like a feast for my eyes, I didn't know where to look!"
"They were so blown away," Gayle says. To top it all off, the following day two main cast members and two top producers from The Lion King visited the school and did a special presentation for students on what goes on behind the scenes.
Also back on campus, Gayle and Will attended a poetry recital where seventh- and eighth-graders recited in front of the entire school poems that they had either written or studied. "These kids have amazing, amazing poetry skills," Gayle says.
Gayle says much more is in store for the students—upcoming events include an arts week, during which special guests will be invited to teach classes and share their knowledge with students. Writer Anna Deavere Smith, Oprah's chef Art Smith, Essence magazine's Mikki Taylor and fitness expert Donna Richardson will all host workshops for the students.
Plus, a secret musical guest will be giving the students a private concert and hip-hop dance lessons. "They're having a top superstar who I cannot name," Gayle says. "But it's going to be very exciting and let me just say: It's a male, he sings and he dances, and the girls are going to love him!"
Published on June 19, 2007