The Mardale Jay Writing Center strives to a be a place where students speak truth and walk in power. It is entirely student-led and was established by a group of 13 seniors from Manual High School in the fall of 2016.

The center is named after one of the founders, Mardale Howard Jay. Mardale was a vibrant presence and a dedicated scholar of Manual High School’s graduating class of 2017. He dedicated his senior year to the creation of the first student-built and student-led high school writing center in the nation. Mardale brought an expansive awareness to the work and the purpose of the writing center. His resilience, achievement, and service made him a beacon of hope for the entire community.

Mardale was a prolific writer and performer whose rhetoric moved spirits and minds. Through literary activism, he showed his peers that writing had the power to influence transformative change. Mardale will never be forgotten. His legacy will live forever through his writing and through the work of all future students who write in this center.

Mardale said, “My vision is to spark the mind that will hopefully change the world.” The Mardale Jay Writing Center will carry this vision forward. In name and spirit, Mardale will continue to light the way toward a more just world.

In September 2017, The Mardale Jay Writing Center was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion. The following month, current students and founders decided to expand to serve all students (grades 6-12) on Denver’s Eastside. The Mardale Jay Writing Center, located at 2015 East 26th Ave, is a student-led space where students are free to express themselves, build confidence, discover their power through voice in order to reach their full potential and challenge injustice.

By expanding to build a community center, we strive to provide students with space and opportunity to walk in power, speak truth,  and become a source of hope in the community through writing, dialogue, performance and organizing.