Aim High Academy gymnasts surprised with new facility after 2015 tornado destroyed old gym

Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 00:37:18-04

It's been more than a year since the gymnasts at Aim High Academy lost their practice spot to a tornado that swept through Green Country. 

Since then, the nonprofit organization that teaches gymnastics to at-risk kids has been searching for a new home.

On Wednesday, that search finally ended.

You can watch the excitement unfold live on our Facebook page HERE or below! 

RELATED: Aim High Academy back on the mat after Wednesday's tornado destroyed their gym | Tulsa nonprofit Aim High Academy receives $1 million for new building, programming | Aim High Academy bounces back after storm, starts practices at temporary facility | Tulsa Shock organization donates to Aim High Academy | Aim High Academy back on the mat after tornado destroyed their gym

Organizers originally convinced the gymnasts that they were going to celebrate the 40th anniversary for another local gymnastics club in town, but when they arrived, they discovered the building they were in would now be for them.

To top off the excitement, August 10 was declared as “Aim High Academy Day” by City of Tulsa leaders during the surprise event. 

“I'm speechless, I didn't even expect this at all and just the people that put in with this ... I can't even talk right now," said Charity Ramsey, Aim High gymnast.

Organizers revealed that a safe room will be added to the new gym. Practice is expected to start this month on August 22.

“I’ve been anticipating this day for quite a while now, just trying to keep a lid on it, knew it was going to be a big surprise for the kids,” said executive director Jennifer Patterson.

The unveiling is the end of the long road that started on March 25, 2015.

“I truly believed that God had a plan,” she said. “These kids, they were my inspiration after the tornado.”

Following the storms, she operated the academy from a church in north Tulsa until retiring Tulsa World of Gymnastics owner Linda Bradshaw decided to pass the ultimate torch.

“There’s nobody better suited to continue my legacy. We’ve worked very, very hard as a family to provide the best for Tulsa kids,” said Bradshaw.

The academy will take over Bradshaw’s building thanks to a $1 million donation from Aim High's campaign chair Tom Naugle.

“Oh, gosh, it's just a thrill every time you see one succeed,” said Naugle.

The girls at Aim High haven't won gold yet, but thanks to a community that cares, those Olympic-sized dreams are closer to reality.

“Thank you so much. You made all of our dreams come true and we really appreciate you,” said Ramsey.

Aim High will continue to operate out of north Tulsa’s Glenwood Baptist Church after the big move. They hope to make it a satellite gym in the future.

“I’ve always wanted a gym like this and it just feels great,” said Ramsey.

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