By Richard Dunn     5/4/2015

The spirit and energy of the Asylum at Servite High School begins early for students, even before they attend the school.

The first tradition incoming freshmen learn, while still in eighth grade and going through Servite orientations, is the precisely timed cheer:

“We are!” clap, clap, “Servite!” clap, clap.

“We are!” clap, clap, “Servite!” clap, clap.

The high decibel level can be like a rock concert inside gymnasiums, while creating quite a roar in stadiums during football games. It can cause visitors to stop in their tracks.

Servite’s football teams perform the school’s famous Hut Drill before and after games in perfect sync, with a strong holler of approval from the fan base after each routine. But the student body members in attendance at Servite sporting events, especially football and basketball, are just as capable of rocking the house with a bellowing sequence of cheers.

The Asylum is a student section based on much more than booming voices, well-orchestrated chants and creative outfits at all-male Servite, in which student brotherhood and discipleship for Christ are focal points of the experience and education.

“What makes us different is that our sole goal is to help our brothers on the field,” Servite student leader of the Asylum James Hussey says. “We take great pride in our ability to aid our team and support them in every way. The Asylum is more than just a bunch of guys cheering for support. The Asylum is based in brotherhood. No matter the outcome, we are always there to support our team and help them to be the best.”

The Asylum’s biggest presence is at basketball and football games, but the students support all sports throughout the year. For some Asylum members, the upbeat participation at sporting events can be a liberating break from high school’s challenging academic rigors.

“The Asylum is different than anything I have ever experienced,” Asylum member Keith Murphy says. “It is a way for the students to be as loud and crazy as they want to be while supporting their fellow brothers. The bond we share at Servite truly reflects in the Asylum with the support and love for each other.”

While all-female Catholic high schools Rosary and Connelly participate at Servite sporting events as cheerleaders and in other unofficial capacities, the Asylum is made up of only Servite students. Students in the Campus Life Committee organize all aspects of the Asylum, from teaching cheers to spreading the word about games, planning tailgates and even providing research on Servite opponents.

“When most think of the Asylum, they think of the noise, the chaos and the heat in the gym, which many consider to be a strong example of the brotherhood found at Servite,” Friars’ basketball coach John Morris says. “What most do not realize is the Asylum best embodies the brotherhood and charisms of Servite High School and the Servite Order immediately after the conclusion of each game. After each home game is finished, win or lose, the members of the Asylum meet the team in The Grotto [on campus] where we pray as a Servite community in front of the statue of Mary and Jesus. Members of the team thank the Asylum for their presence and unyielding spirit at the game and we then conclude by singing our school fight song as one. It is always in this moment where I realize how grateful I am to be a part of something bigger than myself, and those who have experienced this moment realize Christ is at the center of all we do.”

Many traditions have been formed at Servite since the school opened in 1957. It serves as a fraternity for its graduates long after high school. And like music, art and serving the homeless at a nearby park in Anaheim, involvement in the Asylum is voluntary, but it has grown deep within the fiber of the student brotherhood.

“The Asylum name came about a few years back when a group of seniors came together in an effort to revitalize the art of the student section,” Hussey says. “They wanted to find a way to support our teams while creating an atmosphere like no other, and the Asylum was born. We try to embody their idea of being the loudest, craziest and best student section every year and always try to take it to the next level. I can honestly say the Asylum really is a madhouse, and there is nothing else like it.”