On her first day of teaching, Monica Grays learned the hard way that she’d need to buy most of the materials for her classroom with her own money. “I thought I was going to come in and there was going to be all these things provided for me,” she says.
Instead, she was given 10 boxes of crayons, a handful of colored pencils and little else. When a recent move to a new job running a pull-out program for gifted students, meant she wouldn’t have her own classroom anymore, she wanted to do something productive with her supplies. “My husband had come up with this idea,” she says. “ ‘Why don’t you take it to the consignment store?’ ”
Grays, a self-professed lover of resale and consignment shopping, couldn’t find anything that fit what she was looking for. So she sketched out a solution herself. In 2016, she opened 2nd Semester Consignment Shop, a secondhand store in Wickliffe where teachers (or home-school parents) can buy and sell educational games, classroom supplies and more.
Grays says that while teachers spend anywhere between $100 and $500 on materials at the start of each year, her aim is to lessen the cost by providing them with gently used supplies that are donated or sold to the store by teachers who are retiring or switching grade levels. But one of Grays’ favorite things is the camaraderie that builds up when multiple educators stop in.
“You have that new teacher that doesn’t know where to start,” she says, “then you have that veteran teacher that may be bringing stuff in, and they’re telling that new teacher how to solve a problem. I just love when that happens because this is truly a resource place.”