Clay’s Corner, a hangout in the classroom of Monticello High School special education teacher Marlise Dahl, has everything a student needs: A futon, rug, even a mini-fridge and a Keurig machine.
Clay Wiggins would have loved it. And with the recent addition of a lit "Clay’s Corner" sign that includes a Cubbie "C," it now seems complete.
Wiggins passed away in 2014 at the age of 13, but is far from forgotten. When his family donated $1,600 over the past two years to each of the Monticello school building’s special education departments, Dahl saw an opportunity to not only enhance the environment for her students, but commemorate the popular Monticello Middle School student.
"When the Wiggins family made this donation, they made a very generous donation to each special education department in each school, and we wanted to do something to remind of us Clay," said Dahl.
At a May 12 open house to show off the corner, now in its second year of operation, students shared their favorite part of it. Responses varied from sitting on the rug while studying to Caleb Womak, who said "I like reading in Clay’s Corner. It’s actually fun."
"It’s nice that the kids still remember Clay and were always so kind to him and loved Clay just like we have," said his father Matt Wiggins at the open house.
Mom Jennifer Wiggins added the donation was a way to "have some of those extra things that aren’t in the budget."
The Clay’s Corner sign was made by high school advanced welding student Jared Pierce, who after being given an assignment to create something artistic "decided I wanted something that would go back to the school."
It took him around 16 hours to manufacture.
"It’s made out of 1-inch by 1-inch square tubing for the frame, the sign is a quarter-inch steel count, and then it has barn wood behind it for the background," said Pierce, who also added under-cabinet lighting around the edge to give it some added pop.
As with T-shirts made to remember Clay, the "C" looks like the Chicago Cubs logo to honor Clay’s undying devotion to his favorite sports team.
When the team ended its 108-year drought to win the World Series last November, Matt and Jennifer were thrilled, but their first thoughts went to Clay.
"We took out a ‘W’ flag and hung it on his monument at the cemetery, took some balloons out, so he celebrated too," said Jennifer. "He was having a ball in heaven last year when they won the World Series. We celebrated well for him."