Growing Up Auburn

For most students, the initiation into the Auburn Family begins with a highly anticipated acceptance letter or at convocation. But there a select few are born Tigers, a member of the Auburn Family from the start. This experience rings true for Auburn students Madeline Harrington, Abby Hinson, and Lamar Woody who were born and raised in town (Hinson actually first stepped on campus as a preschooler attending Auburn’s Early Learning Center).

With Auburn’s school spirit and fan base nationally ranked as the one of the most passionate, one has to wonder in jest if being an Auburn Tiger comes from nature or nurture. “Of course they dressed my sister and me in AU attire beginning at infancy and we learned how to say ‘War Eagle’ real quick,” said Harrington ‘17 of growing up with Auburn fans as parents. Harrington attended a small private school in Opelika, but the university still played a significant role in her upbringing, illustrating the school’s massive influence on the community. After her mother began working with the Auburn Christian Student Center, the campus ministry quickly became a central part of Harrington’s life. “They babysat me, mentored me as I got older, and having the ACSC as a part of my life made my transition to Auburn so much easier because I had already made some close friends,” she explained.

As students worked their way through the Auburn school system, the paths between the high school and university students didn’t cross as often as one may think. According to Woody, who attended grades K-12 in Auburn, the students of AHS were occupied with their own happenings, like bonfires, cookouts, and extracurriculars, that they weren't concerned with what the students at the university were up to. The college application process was seemingly painless as well, with many opting to only apply to Auburn due to proximity and alumni legacy.

Despite spending more than a decade in the same town, these Auburn students haven’t felt the need to answer the call of wanderlust, nor have they felt limited by their choice to stay close to their family roots. Woody did feel a “slight obligation” to stay in Auburn due to strong relationships with family and friends, but hasn’t ever felt stuck in any way because of his free-spirited nature. Harrington was also confident in her decision to attend Auburn (“Auburn was my top and only choice”), but looks to expand her horizons in the future.

“Obviously I love traveling and would love to visit other parts of the country and globe,” said Harrington, “but I will always want Auburn to be my home.”

It is the sense of home and belonging that is so attractive to local prospective students, as well as transplant Tigers. These sentiments are found in Auburn Creed, which Hinson holds near and dear to her heart.        

“The Creed shows the values that I think that all Auburn people should follow and believe,” elaborated Hinson. She also explained how being a part of the Auburn Family bonds her with everyone involved in its community.

 Regardless of whether you grew up on the Plains or halfway across the country, Auburn University remains a close-knit family for students and fans alike.


Also be sure to check out these hidden gems from our Auburn locals:

-       Town Creek Park

-       Sips and Strokes (now Uptown Art)

-       Toomer’s Coffee

-       Rope swing in Loachapoka


All images provided by Madeline Harrington, Abby Hinson, and Lamar Woody.