Darien valedictorian hopes to be entrepreneur

David Joosten: Darien valedictorian hopes to be entrepreneur

By Susan Shultz, Times Reporter
Jun 19, 2007

"Darien High School valedictorian David Joosten. (Darien Times/Laureen Vellante photo)" Darien High School valedictorian David Joosten. (Darien Times/Laureen Vellante photo)

Valedictorian David Joosten has worked hard in his tenure at Darien High School, so he wasn’t entirely surprised to learn he had earned the honor. But maintaining his average wasn’t what motivated him.

“I’ve been working toward it the past four years, but that effort didn’t depend on my grade point average,” he said.

That average, by the way, is 4.36.

The modest senior, who is Harvard-bound in the fall, said that in addition to hard work, luck has something to do with it.

“It was a combination of luck, getting some teachers who were easier than others, luck is part of it — I consider myself lucky,” he said.

David, who has two younger brothers, said his favorite subject is history. One of his younger brothers is a sophomore at the high school. Does he live up to his older brother’s academic standard?

“He’s made a lot of improvement over the last two years. He may not be the valedictorian of his class, but he’ll be one of the top rated — he’s a real self-motivator,” David said.

Part of the valedictorian’s honors including making a speech at graduation, which makes David a little nervous. He’s already outlined it but it is not complete. Although he may be nervous, he considers it an opportunity.

“It’s a good opportunity to say last words, so I’m lucky to be able to speak, not everyone gets that opportunity,” he said.

His parents, Eric and Mar Joosten, are very excited, David said.

“I think sometimes parents get more excited than the students.”

When he’s wasn’t working on academics, David was writing for the school newspaper, of which he served as business manager this year. He served as treasurer for the National Honor Society and ran for the track team.

David plans to study economics at Harvard and is very interested in entrepreneurism and start-up businesses. He hopes one day to either start his own business or work with someone who has. And he’s already on his way, as he and his brother ran an eBay business selling DVDs and video games.

“My brother started it a year and a half ago, and I joined a year ago,” he said.

The business brings in about $1,000 a month profit for working eight hours a week. For the last several months, though, David had to ease up on his time spent on the eBay business. He wanted to devote more time to college applications.

“I had to stop, because it isn’t good to sacrifice long-term goals for short-term goals,” he said.

David said he is very excited to attend the prestigious Harvard University, despite feeling somewhat intimidated by the school’s alumni achievements.

“People are always showing me magazine articles about people who have gone to Harvard and what they’ve accomplished — it is intimidating,” he said.

After a vacation to his mother’s native country of Spain at the end of June, David will start an internship at Pitney Bowes in their international acquisition department.

“It has a lot to do with start-up businesses,” he said.

David said such opportunities were one of the great things about growing up and attending school in Darien.

“There are more opportunities here than anywhere else in the United States with the people in this town, if you know someone who knows someone. You just have to make the effort.”

One of the bad things about growing up in Darien is that the town is very protective.

“That could also be a good thing, but the negative side of things is that students aren’t very experienced in street smarts,” he said.

Although he doesn’t know many people going to Harvard, David won’t be alone in the area. He said almost half of his friends are going to colleges in the Boston area.

But does the lack of street smarts he perceives make him a little bit more nervous about heading off to Cambridge in the fall?

“It probably makes me nervous, but really, excitement is just a form of nervousness,” he said.

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