As part of our 100th anniversary, EmBe is highlighting powerful women from our past! These women remind us to be courageous and strong in our lives, and to follow our passions, even when others are against us. This week’s spotlight is on Diane Powell– a member of the YWCA from the 1940s!
On September 2, 1947, Diane Powell became Sioux Falls’ first woman sports editor for a high-school paper. Because of this (and many other achievements), the YWCA named her the Y-Teen representative of the city. She traveled to many cities with this title and connected with other YWCA members.
Diane began writing sports stories for the school paper, The Orange and Black, in her sophomore year at Washington High School.
With gritty determination and intense ambition, Diane broke into the male-dominated field and made a name for herself in sports journalism. However, it did not come without challenges. Diane was required to obtain special permission to enter the journalism class earlier than the requirements specified. Once in the world of journalism, Diane faced a lot of sexism and misogyny. One specific headline about her was “Typical Girl does Boy’s Job.” Teachers, parents, and classmates all had difficulty accepting that a woman could be a sports journalist.
However, Diane continued to do what she did best: write and watch sports. She didn’t miss a single home athletic event in her four years at Washington High. Diane’s love of sports and dedication to the craft won the Orange and Black staff over, and in her senior year at Washington High School, Diane became the paper’s sports editor.
When she left Washington High School, she had dreams of going to college for journalism and becoming a sports writer. Her goal was to watch a football game from the press box. She also wanted to provide a female representation in the sports journalism world.
Her ambition paid off, and in the fall of 1946, she went to South Dakota State University. While there, she rose in the ranks of journalism, and only a year and a half, she was named Editor of The Collegian, SDSU’s paper. After her Sophomore year, Diane transferred to Grinnell College in Iowa. There, she worked as a secretary for the board of publications, a writing instructor for the college, and co-editor for The Scarlet and Black, Grinnell’s paper. She continued to emphasize sports writing and reporting.
After graduating, she worked as a women’s article writer at the World Herald. Then, in 1956, she married Cecil Boughn and moved to Omaha. She spent the rest of her life in Omaha, working for various publications and papers. Her most extended employment was with The North Omaha Sun, an Omaha local newspaper. She wrote for many different topics, but her favorite was the athletics column. Diane and Cecil had three children– Scott, Timothy, and David.
Diane passed away on May 10, 1976. In an article she wrote for The Sun in one of her last years on the board, she wrote, “I have no regrets.”