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Facebook’s 2nd In Command Has South Florida Roots

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Facebook’s stock is worth $38.23 a share, closing up 23 cents in its first day of public trading.

Friday was a big day for company founder Mark Zuckerberg, and his right-hand-woman, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Many credit Sandberg with Facebook’s continued business success, but before she was COO, she was a student at North Miami Beach Senior High School.

“I was really a serious geek in high school,” Sandberg said in a recent interview with AOL “Makers”.

That may be how Sandberg remembers her high school days, but her best friends recall a bright, charismatic woman they knew would be successful. Though, even they admit they never could have imagined where her career would lead her.

“You don’t think about the future so much,” said Elise Scheck Bonwitt. The Miami-Dade attorney has known Sandberg for more than 25 years. “We were in high school. We had a good time. We worked hard. We had fun.”

Bonwitt is part of Sandberg’s inner circle, a group made up of seven women who’ve been through it all, from graduations, reunions, weddings and childbirths.

‘We get together about once a year”, Bonwitt said from her North Miami Beach neighborhood Friday, after Facebook ended its first day as a publically traded company. “We email each other all the time. Whenever she’s in town, we all get together.”

Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008. Before that, she built Google’s ad business. Her lucrative career is one her friends didn’t exactly see her pursuing.

“I would have not necessarily predicted a tech field in her future,” Bonwitt said. “But I guess way back then we didn’t even have computers, so it’s nothing we could have ever even predicted.”

No one could have predicted Facebook’s meteoric rise, either. Sandberg has said she is glad to be part of it all.

“I have aspirations to do something that matters,” Sandberg told Fortune. “And right now, I don’t think there’s much I could do that would matter more than Facebook.”

No matter what she does, her six friends from South Florida will be there cheering her on.

“I’m proud of Sheryl, very proud,” Bonwitt said. “She deserves everything she has.”

More than 550 million shares were traded on Facebook’s first day as a public company.

Sandberg owned nearly 2 million of those shares.

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