What is Senior Ventures?


Starting as early as the spring of 2019 and continuing over the next academic year, Darlington has announced a new and exciting program available for current junior students. The Leadership Ventures Program will be a year long senior project built on the construction of leadership, innovation and community management. The direction of the project will be chosen by the students involved and further supervised by Darlington faculty and mentors from the community. The idea is that students will receive the opportunity of experiencing leadership on a whole new level and gain real-life leadership experience before heading out in the world.

Owen Kinney is the Committee Chair of Senior Ventures and further explains the structure and idea behind the program.

“The program is a chance for seniors to take a year, one class out of their schedule, to explore a project that is of their choosing and will have an impact, hopefully connected to the school community and the broader community,” said Kinney. ”The program could consist of something that they could invent, something to help other people, maybe performance based or even business or entrepreneurship ventured as well.”

The program will be predominantly organized by the participating students, thereby exposing the students to what it really takes to be a leader and developing a project.

“What we’re looking for is a chance for seniors to take a chance on a big project and a big idea. We want them to get the real world experience,” said Kinney.  “The benefit for the senior is that they get proof that they’re capable of working independently and producing something big that gives them a chance to lead for real. Sometimes leadership positions at school are just about popularity while this will be about productivity. It’s about true leadership by example.”

Current juniors are excited about this new leadership addition and agrees that it will be a good opportunity to experience leadership.

“The new Leadership Ventures program is a wonderful addition to the Darlington curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. It allows future seniors to initiate an idea that they have and execute it in the form of a year-long project and also embodies the ‘Portrait of a Darlington’ graduate by including different aspects of the idea into one,” said junior Alexander Greene. “ I think that interested future seniors should definitely take advantage of this opportunity as it will help them form connections that could help them later in life.”

Other students echoed that thought.

“I think the leadership program is interesting and will be a great opportunity for juniors and future seniors,” said junior Tara Kirkby.

Even current seniors have heard about the program.

“The program sounds like a good addition to the senior class. I believe that students will gain a lot of experience similar to leadership positions after high school. I would have definitely wanted to try it if I was a junior” said senior Nea Leppänen.

The program sounds like a good opportunity for current juniors, but as only 10 students will be chosen to participate it is clearly very selective and not made for everyone.

“It is selective. This is not for everyone, and not necessarily for the top 10 students,” said Kinney. “ A lot of our top students do not want to give up an AP class. The people with the best grades are not always the smartest people, there are very smart people who are making C’s right now, but they may have big ideas and they are driven by something else other than their GPA.”

What the faculty is looking for when they take out the participants will not be their academic achievements, but the students’ idea and liability to finish the project.

“We want to see what ideas people have and we are not judging them based on their grades – but on their idea and ability to follow through,” said Kinney.