Auburn welcomes Chicago elementary school students

Published: September 10, 2015
Updated: September 14, 2015
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Auburn had some very special guests visiting campus the week before its first home football game.

Twenty-four students from Chicago's New Schmid Elementary School toured campus, visited with professors and students, met War Eagle VII, and, of course, cheered on their favorite football team Saturday.

Auburn and the school have formed a special bond after a second grade class, now third-graders, adopted the university for a school competition and produced an Auburn-themed video, which went viral and was viewed and shared by thousands through social media.

"We were all touched by these young students' preparation, passion for learning, and expression of the Auburn spirit," said Athletics Director Jay Jacobs, who, along with Bo Jackson and Aubie, visited them in July to express Auburn's gratitude and to invite them to campus.

The students in teacher Quinlan Matthew's class, joined by Vanessa Goodar's special education students, researched Auburn academics, athletics, and traditions as part of the elementary school's college week competition – taking home first place. In the end, they were able to recite information they learned, beginning with The Auburn Creed and finishing with the fight song.

"My husband, his grandfather and his great-grandfather are all Auburn graduates, so he helped us prepare," said Matthew. "He actually took a day off of work and helped the kids practice."

Auburn and elementary school officials view the visit to Auburn as the kickoff of a long-term academic relationship. "There's a lot of enthusiasm across campus for helping the students reach their fullest potential," Auburn President Jay Gogue said.

The VIP third-graders enjoyed Auburn hospitality as they participated in a host of educational activities: learning about animals and what it's like to be a veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine, studying and feeding fish at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Research Center, discovering how drones fly during a visit to the Auburn University Regional Airport, and taking part in an academic program at the Ralph Brown Draughon Library.

Auburn Athletics gave the children special access to its facilities and introduced them to several coaches, including women's basketball coach Terri Williams-Flournoy for a motivational talk. Game day included the students taking part in the traditional Tiger Walk before cheering on their Auburn Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium, where they were recognized on the field.

Yes, it was the best fieldtrip ever.