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MDU Resources Teen of the Week: Student council president finds her voice through leadership role

From the 2022-2023 MDU Resources Teen of the Week series
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Ellie Diffely

Mandan High School senior Ellie Diffely is this week's MDU Resources Teen of the Week.

Before she could effectively lead her peers, Mandan High School senior Ellie Diffely had to first figure out what kind of leader she is.

The soft-spoken teenager said becoming the Student Council president helped her figure out her strengths as a leader and gave her confidence to take charge.

“I was definitely the type of person that had to find my own form of leadership because I'm not the loudest person,” she said. “So it took a little bit of time to find the type of leader I am. But once I got that position it just came naturally, and I’ve been able to lead my fellow classmates.”

The daughter of Abby and Steven Diffely, of Mandan, is this week's Teen of the Week. Thirty-two high school seniors will be recognized by spring, at which time a Teen of the Year will be selected from the weekly winners to receive a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by MDU Resources Group.

MDU Teen of Week Logo

Diffely has been in Student Council since freshman year and served as secretary last year. She has been working with her adviser and another teacher to create an aluminum can fundraiser with proceeds going toward a senior scholarship.

“Being in Student Council allows me constant participation and involvement in my school and my community, which is something that is very important to me and I have always found really enjoyable,” she said.

Diffely said that besides Student Council, her biggest commitment was her job at Moritz Sport and Marine. For two years she worked as a receptionist every day after school and almost every Saturday. She said the job helped her build relationships and develop communication skills.

Diffely also is involved in her school’s HOSA–Future Health Professionals chapter and the National Honor Society. She said she enjoys seeking out volunteer opportunities in her community such as military appreciation events, first responder luncheons and Adopt-A-Highway cleanups.

Art teacher John Gieser said he has heard other faculty members describe Diffely as being incredibly positive, well-rounded, polite and resourceful. He echoes this praise.

“Ellie truly is the type of individual that not only makes my job fun, but also exciting and refreshing,” Gieser wrote in a letter of recommendation. “Her genuine disposition, outstanding work ethic and raw aptitude has distinctly elevated her to being one of my most outstanding students.”

Diffely maintains a 4.04 weighted GPA and will have completed three Advanced Placement classes and three dual-credit classes by the time she graduates. The honor roll student said she is proud to have maintained good grades while challenging herself with higher-level classes such as trigonometry.

Diffely plans to study biochemistry at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. While her career path is not set in stone, right now she's interested in going into the chiropractic field.

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