Puyallup Teacher Leaves Legacy


Kim Root (left) and Maggie Wall (right) share a moment together. Wall was an integral part of the Business and Marketing program at Puyallup High School. Photo courtesy of Jennifer West and Marlys Black.

Many students at PHS are aware of some of its retail outlets, such as The Viking Blend and snack shop in the atrium, but not many stop to see or wonder about one of its most historical and significant ones: The Wall, the student-run store tucked into the outside hallway that is directly connected to DECA teacher Kim Root’s classroom.  

What’s even less commonly known is the origin of the name itself and the design associated with the outside of the store, a tribute to the late Maggie Wall, the previous Business and Marketing teacher.  

Root, one of the current Business and Marketing I, II and III teachers, experienced firsthand the incredibly impactful yet tragic installation of the name and design change to what was originally just called the PHS student store. 

“The adviser before me had lost her life to a battle with cancer, and her name was Maggie Wall,” Root said. “After she passed, we decided – Ms. West, myself, and her senior students that were there – that we were going to change the name of the student store to The Wall.” 

Root detailed the process of how an ordinary student store became something much more as Mrs. Wall’s students dedicated the establishment to her memory. 

“The students that were her management team, her seniors that year, hand painted the bricks and did the outside of the store in kind of a tribute to her,” Root said. 

Root noted that not many students today are familiar with the importance of The Wall’s existence. 

“A lot of people don’t know what it represents; they just think it’s like a hole in the wall,” Root said. “I had a [former] student come back and she realized people don’t even know why it’s there.” 

The Wall itself is a student-led organization, and the level of Business and Marketing that one is currently in directly correlates to their job in running it. 

“If you make it to [Business and] Marketing III, your job is managers of The Wall and the Viking Blend,” Root said. “They have to figure out what to order, how much to order if they want to create sales, what the apparel is going to look like, what the prices are going to be, how they want to set it up.” 

Root hopes for current and future students to recognize The Wall’s impact throughout the years and continue to support and learn about it. 

“We don’t get a lot of foot traffic because we’re kind of hidden around the corner. I just wish people were more aware or knew of the products and stuff that we have,” Root said.  

 Jennifer West teaches Business and Marketing I, as well as web and graphic design. She explains that students enrolled in the marketing program are taught to run The Wall and carry out most of the operations associated with it as a part of their class participation. 

“It’s a student-run establishment, so they’re learning skills in regard to marketing and business through that process,” West said. “They also want to market to our current student body and bring them things that they would like to buy.” 

West recalled the initial location of the store and how that may have assisted with increased foot traffic and visibility. 

“It used to be in the atrium area, and then the food service needed the spot — right across from the Viking Blend, that used to be where it was,” West said. 

West believes that Mrs. Wall was a vital part of the faculty and that Root has done a great job in honoring her legacy while carrying on in her position. 

“The whole point of the name was definitely to honor Maggie, who was such an integral part of the school for so long and had such an impact on so many kids,” West said. “So many kids in that program thrived under her.” 

Offering a perspective from the current students who run The Wall are Cameron Lenton and Trevor Lorenz, both third-year Business and Marketing students, who take on the role of running the store itself and training managers and employees below them. 

Lorenz, who is the Director of Operations, oversees inventory and keeps track of sales. 

“We train new employees, we help out anyone who’s coming to work here for the first time if they’ve got any questions,” Lorenz said. “We’ve got to make sure we can operate all the stuff we’ve got going on in here like receipts, scanners, stuff like that.” 

Similarly, the Director of Purchasing position is filled by Lenton, who assists with making merchandise, restocking the store, and supplying materials to do that. He states that working at The Wall builds skills for future jobs at business establishments. 

“You also learn essentially how to run a small business, because that’s basically what this is,” Lenton said. “If you go to a sporting event and you go to the stadium and they have a concession stand, it’s like the same thing.” 

Lenton also understands that the origin of The Wall is one full of meaning and substance. 

“It’s kind of like a nice little tribute to the previous teacher, not many people know about it,” Lenton said.