GMG graduate Abe Dieleman joins ISU’s President’s Leadership Program

Abe Dieleman, a 2022 GMG High School graduate and Toledo native, begins his journey in the President’s Leadership Program during his first year at Iowa State University. PHOTO COURTESY Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University

2022 GMG High School graduate and Toledo native Abe Dieleman was given the honor to join the 2022-2023 President’s Leadership Program during his first year at Iowa State University.

Dieleman has taken on many leadership roles during his high school career.

“I was involved in boy scouts, basketball, cross-country, the fall play, choir, band, student council, and FFA. Everything pretty much. I worked as a legislative page my junior year and as a clerk my senior year in Des Moines,” he said. “It makes me feel like all the involvement I had in high school really paid off. I definitely couldn’t have done all that without help from teachers, the community, family, and friends.”

Each fall, 30 students are selected for The President’s Leadership Program, which helps students build their leadership abilities and experiences while serving as an essential training ground for students who will become campus leaders and further on into professional and community leadership roles.

Dieleman, along with 29 other first-year students, meets weekly at The Knoll to discuss leadership topics with President Wendy Wintersteen, Mr. Robert Waggoner, and other key leaders.

“It’s a neat experience being in a class that helps us expand our network. We’ve talked about a lot of things like personality. They helped us get ready for the Iowa State Career Fair,” he said. “We’ve had an etiquette dinner. It was a little awkward because we learned how to use three different knives and forks. I’ll probably never use that again, but I guess now I know.”

Dieleman isn’t sure what else to expect, but he’s still excited to participate.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other top freshman leaders and continuing to be a leader. I thought I’d be done with everything once I graduated high school [and now] I already have this leadership position,” he said. “I’m involved in my house cabinet as the president of my floor. [The President’s Leadership Program] is helping me stay busy with leadership [roles]. They’re helping me continue to grow and become a better leader.”

Dieleman had a lot of support since his childhood and early school years.

“My teachers tried to push me to be a leader since elementary. The school’s always been there to help me with anything. That’s the nice thing about a small school. There’s more of a personal connection between students and teachers, and you feel like they’re there for you, and they are,” he said. “[Also,] the community has always been there to support me, the typical small-town helpfulness. I just want to say thank you to my family, school, and community.”

Dieleman has worked hard to become a better leader for his community, and in that time, he has accumulated a little advice to give his underclassmen at GMG.

“Stay involved, respect others, build your network, and don’t do what you don’t want to do,” he said.

While just in his first year at college, Dieleman expects to graduate in 2026 with a degree in Agronomy.

“It’s crop and soil science. That’s how I explain it. I hope to have a few different internships. I’m thinking about one in Oregon next summer,” he said. “[But] I think what I’ll end up doing is coming back home to manage our row crop operation with my dad.”

As many leaders do, Dieleman has created his own personal mission statement — “To live a life full of faith, honesty, commitment, and respect. To always expand my knowledge in any way possible and constantly seek ways to become a better person.”