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Two online classmates become "friends for life", meet at South University graduation

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Leona Anderson (left) and Alma Baretto pose for a selfie at their post-graduate ceremony (Photo: Ian Dembling)

Savannah, Ga. (WTGS)-- Thousands around the country came to Savannah to celebrate hard work paying off .

More than 3,300 students graduated from South University over the weekend.

They came from 47 of the 50 states and several U.S. territories.

They spent years studying and taking classes online.

“They’re going to be doctor of pharmacists, they’re going to be nurses at all different levels of the profession, we have anesthesiologist assistants, physicians assistants, people going into business," said Betsy Nolen, the Assistant Chancellor for Communications at South U.

Graduates at South U. are all of various ages.

One of the oldest graduating was Leona Anderson of Atlanta. She says she went back for her masters and post-graduate degrees after retiring and losing her husband in 2012.

“If you did not learn at least one thing a day, your day was wasted. And I’m not going to live my life wasting my days," Anderson said.

Anderson said one of her favorite parts of her online learning was meeting her friend Alma Baretto of Connecticut. The two studied together and would talk about things both having to do with class and life.

“We are there for each other during tough times and she’s shown to be a friend forever,” Baretto said.

Baretto's family is spending the weekend in Savannah, even though they've never been in the area, so Anderson is showing them around.