OKLAHOMA CITY — Silence rapidly engulfed what normally is a very rowdy soccer field as a stadium-size tifo (or banner) unfurled and read, “The spirit of this city will not be defeated.” Fans and players paused to reflect on how Oklahoma City has grown and unified since April 19, 1995.
As part of Dove Science Academy’s (DSA) dedication to support its community, students worked with The Grid, Energy FC’s supporter group, to create a tifo featuring the survivor tree that was displayed at last year’s Energy FC season opener; a day before the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. A year later, Lampstead Media honored DSA and The Grid’s community spirit and the Oklahoma Standard with the premier of the documentary “Tifo.”
“What an incredible story to tell … Since the film was released, people all across the country and the world are learning about Oklahoma City and our unique culture. Having students like you representing our next generation is just fantastic,” said Marshall Stockdell, member of The Grid.
“Tifo” features a unique collaboration between Dove Science Academy and The Grid after John Bratt, DSA history teacher and The Grid member, was inspired by his student, Shae Hale’s, flag design for a class assignment—the strong silhouette of the survivor tree, a symbol known to every Oklahoman and many throughout the world.
The tifo was so powerful and representative of Oklahoma City that the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum recently inducted it into its archives.
“I’m really touched not only as a soccer fan to have this tifo displayed and celebrated by others, and also as a teacher to have my students involved in it, but as a student of history to know something I created is in the memorial museum, there isn’t a higher honor,” Bratt said.
“Tifo” beautifully intertwines the past with the present and reflects on mourning that has given birth to hope in a generation of young people. During a recent DSA school assembly, Zac Fowler, Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum community coordinator, recognized this generation of young people’s dedication to the Oklahoma Standard.
“I really appreciate what you guys have done. And it’s not just me. It’s the memorial. It’s the state. People are starting to take notice of the amazing things you [DSA students] have done.
“In life we don’t always get to choose the things we remember. Some things happen and they’re just so big that we just can’t forget it whether we want to or not. But we always get to choose what we want to celebrate: whether that’s resilience; whether that is us standing up to adversity; whether that’s pulling our neighbors up through the ashes and putting them back on their feet. And that’s exactly what you guys have done here — that’s the Oklahoma Standard. I’m standing in an auditorium with the future of Oklahoma City in it. It’s our choice. What are we going to choose to celebrate?” Fowler said.
DSA students, who created the tifo, said they thought it was important because the bombing was a catalyst for where we are today.
“It’s important to remember what exactly led up to where we are today and why it’s so important to stay unified as a city and as a people,” said Sahar Hasan, DSA junior.
Throughout the creation of the documentary, Bratt said he was touched to see the symbol of the survivor tree from the perspective of his students.
“For a lot of us, my age or older, we see the survivor tree as a symbol of mourning. But Shae wasn’t alive during the bombing just like none of my students were and a lot of people come here from out of town and they’ve only experienced Oklahoma City after that, so for them it’s as much a symbol of rebirth, renewal, growth as it is a symbol of memorial. That is a perspective I was really touched by,” Bratt said.
Jason Gallagher, creative director, said although there were a lot of players to focus on in the creation of the documentary, the story really wrote itself with DSA’s love of Oklahoma City at the core.
“You guys were definitely the heart and soul of this thing,” Gallagher said. “Thank you for letting us tell your story.”
To watch the documentary “Tifo,” visit youtube.com/watch?v=k2uuF8DEa6I. Or to learn more about Dove Science Academy, see doveschools.org.
About Dove Science Academy
Serving Oklahoma students for 15 years, Dove Science Academy (DSA) promotes disciplined, organized and vigorous education. DSA faculty and staff work diligently to mold responsive, productive and civic-minded individuals. With a 1:15 faculty-student ratio, DSA offers a “hands-on approach” that allows for individual focus and created students who are a productive part of the community. Dove Science Academy is run by the charitable non-profit organization Sky Foundation, which promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in every school environment. To learn more about DSA, see doveschools.org or follow DSA on Facebook at facebook.com/dovepubliccharterschools.
About Energy FC
Energy FC is an American professional men's soccer team based in Oklahoma City. They played their inaugural season in the United Soccer League in 2014. For more information or tickets, see energyfc.com.
Tifo (1) & (2).jpg: Zac Fowler, Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum community coordinator, thanks Dove Science Academy students for their creation of a tifo (banner) featuring the survivor tree that was displayed at last year’s Energy FC season opener, a day before the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.