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Student turns entrepreneur to fund aviation dreams

15-year-old DP student Trevor Simoneau with his parents

Aspiring pilot Trevor Simoneau maps out an airborne future via his own business

“I’ve had a passion for aviation since I was 10 years old,” says student Trevor Simoneau, who combines his academic studies with running his own digital printing business Chart it All, which he hopes will underwrite a career in the skies.

Despite only being 15, Trevor is in the midst of his Diploma Programme (DP) at DeLand High School in Florida, USA, which he is doing early. And aims to complete flight training and study at the famed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the future.

“In the United States, basic flight training costs approximately $12,000. Advanced flight training costs up to $60,000. Tuition at Embry-Riddle is $35,000 a year with the additional expenses of books, room and board. I knew I needed to find a way to fund it,” he explains.

Thanks to his mother’s keen eye, those plans started to achieve lift-off four years ago. Trevor recalls: “I was planning a flight on my simulator using an aeronautical chart, which is a pilot’s map containing important information like air traffic control frequencies, TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions), flight routing information and more. My mom walked by and noticed the intriguing design of the chart. It’s a unique graphic, a geographic design with icons, vectors and bright colours. I printed out a copy of the chart, and she picked up a marker and drew an outline of a shirt on the printed aeronautical chart. Chart it All was born.”

A digital printing process, dye-sublimation, allows Chart it All to offer one-of-a-kind items ranging from T-shirts to tea trays, decorated with images of customers’ favourite aeronautical charts. The process produces “vibrant, super-soft, permanent prints that are guaranteed to never crack, peel or flake”, says Trevor.

“As my company grows, the jobs that need to be completed grow along with it. I am learning a lot about marketing, social media management, and invaluable communication and leadership skills. Finding the balance between IB schoolwork, Chart it All, flight training and extracurricular activities is challenging, but I’ve learned how to delegate and manage my time wisely,” he says.

“Studying for the DP has helped strengthen my time management skills and helped me maintain my work ethic,” says Trevor. “Managing school and Chart it All is tricky,” he says, “but school always comes first.

“I typically spend 1-2 hours after school working on assignments and studying. Then I spend the rest of the evening responding to customer emails, updating our social media platforms and website, and planning to showcase Chart it All at aviation events. Some nights I participate in phone interviews, and other nights I’m producing dye-sublimated coffee mugs and socks.”

Of course, a good crew is as essential for entrepreneurs as it is for pilots. Trevor’s parents Steve and Eileen, he says, “have spent countless hours making Chart it All a success. They are the wind beneath my wings.”

This article is part of a series of stories that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on Twitter @IBorganization #IBcommunitystories. Share your great stories and experiences: email