2024 Students of Distinction

Maris Johnson inspires youth through soccer, entrepreneurial dreams

Posted on May 9th, 2024 By: Joshua Eskew

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles featuring the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. These students will be celebrated during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Maris Johnson 

School: Peninsula High School 

Category: Career and Technical Education 

 Maris Johnson is a dedicated Peninsula High School graduating senior whose passion for soccer and entrepreneurial spirit embody resilience and community engagement.

From the outside, The Tacoma Soccer Center might not look like it’s in the best part of town. But it’s what happens on the inside, Peninsula High School’s Maris Johnson says, that keeps her working there.

Maris, herself no strange to the challenges of being an athlete, has coached for the center’s youth program for several years. There, she says, she’s able to pass on her love of the sport to kids while giving back to the soccer community she has grown to know and love.

For a while, Maris was unsure of where her love for soccer would take her. Although she played for many years, she broke her wrist just before her junior year of high school. While recovering, she wondered whether she would be able to continue her involvement in the sport. But in reimagining her relationship to the game, she discovered she still had a role to play, even if it wasn’t what she always expected.

Maris Johnson

Entrepreneurial ambitions 

It is this open-minded perspective that Maris thinks has contributed to her success not only in soccer but in other areas. An aspiring business owner, Maris has competed at the state level in competitions for DECA, an organization that sponsors finance, marketing, and other competitions for students.

To manage the competing demands of her job and school, Maris delegates her time very carefully, remaining focused on her goals while also open to new experiences and learning opportunities. She credits her grandma, whom Maris says was especially good at seeing things from others’ perspective, with helping her develop these skills.

After she completes her education, Maris hopes to open a coffee shop or perhaps a bakery. She’d like to travel to Iceland and to complete her rubber duck collection by acquiring one from all 50 states. For now, though, she is taking things one day at a time, focused on completing school and helping kids at the Tacoma Soccer Center share her love of the pitch. 

With confirmed enrollment at Washington State University, Maris will study marketing at the Carson College of Business, in hopes of one day owning her own business. 

Maris Johnson 

Category: Career and Technical Education 

Parents: Amanda Walston and Jake Johnson

Achievements/Activities: CTE Courses: Marketing 1-4, Nutrition and Food Prep, DECA; Soccer Scholar Athlete/Academic Achievement, Honor Roll 2023-24, Area 7 Regional DECA competitor, student store opener 

Favorite Teacher: “Mrs. Crabtree has become my favorite teacher over these last four years. While her favorite subject may not be mine, she’s always been eager to learn about anything unique or different that her students bring to the table as well as providing such an environment to where students can talk about anything on their mind and ask for advice when needed, and Mrs. Crabtree will always go above and beyond to connect her students with the resources they need.”

Best thing about high school: “My favorite thing about Peninsula High school is the positive and supportive sense of community that surrounds the campus. Staff members and admin give students their own freedom and control over their decisions while also weighing in at times to help and guide students towards the position they want to be in at the end of their high school years, while also providing students with an abundance of different opportunities and pathways for success after their time at Peninsula High School.”