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Thousands of tears — both clandestine and visible — were shed at Sonoma State University over the weekend as thousands of students moved into their dorms and said their final goodbyes to mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents just days before the start of classes Tuesday.

Deborah Curry of La Mesa said she was overcome with emotion but her excitement for her 18-year-old son Rhett tipped the balance. “I would probably be crying on the floor that my baby is gone,” she said. “I’m just so excited and happy for the opportunity he’s going to be having to study something he loves.”

The Currys were among countless parents who attended events over the weekend aimed at getting both parents and new students acclimated to the campus. Sunday afternoon, the San Diego couple attended a “parent welcome” event that gave families a chance to meet staff, become familiar with services and answer questions about housing.

The SSU campus has 3,200 bed spaces — some rooms have multiple beds — and students were invited to move into their new digs over the weekend, said Stacy Heldman-Holguin, interim associate vice president of the division of student affairs.

Most students moved into their campus housing Saturday.

Rhett Curry, a theater major whose concentration will be acting, moved into his dorm room at Sauvignon Village. He’s both excited and a little nervous about starting school away from home. He said he’s the first in his family to leave the San Diego area for school.

“I”m still getting used to everything,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily like I’m totally lost and confused because they do a good job here settling you.”

David Arellanes, 18, and his girlfriend Melissa Johnson, 18, both of Sunnyvale, will be starting freshman classes Tuesday and staying in separate sections of Sauvignon Village. On Sunday, Arellanes, his family and Johnson were familiarizing themselves with the campus.

When asked how far apart their dorm rooms were, Arellanes’ father, Sal, said, “Not far enough.”

The younger Arellanes, an economics major, said he looked at San Jose State University but the large size of the school did not appeal to him. Sonoma State, with a little more than 9,000 students, has the more intimate atmosphere Arellanes said he’s used to. Both Arellanes and Johnson, a kinesiology major, attended a small high school in Sunnyvale.

David Arellanes’ mother, Rosalie, said like many other Sonoma State parents, she too is excited but also sad.

“It’s another path in his life, a new beginning,” she said, adding that she and her husband will enjoy visiting their son. “We like the fact that it’s in Sonoma County, with the wineries . . . it has a lot to offer.”

For David and Deanne Furtado of Mountain House, saying goodbye to their daughter Dora, 19, was much easier than last year. Dora Furtado, a sophomore, is studying kinesiology with a focus on nursing.

“It was hard last year, seeing her — thinking is everything going to be OK,” Deanne Furtado said. “She did so well last year; this year was a lot easier.”

Dora Furtado said she’s looking forward to having a room all to herself. Last year, she shared a room with two other people.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @renofish.

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