Connor Fitzgerald, a 7th grader at Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy, is proving that age is not a barrier when it comes to turning ideas into reality. Not only is he trying to navigate middle school and all that it entails, but he is also navigating the world of business and entrepreneurship, fueled by the knowledge and opportunities magnet schools have provided him.

Connor began his educational journey at Johnson STEAM Academy, where he explored his passion for art, innovation, and project-based learning through the magnet school’s program. The school also sparked his interest in business, engineering, and entrepreneurship, leading to his first business venture at the age of 8. He set up a small table in his mom’s cafe to sell his intricately crafted paper snowflakes to patrons for a $1 or a goodwill donation. In a matter of weeks, he had raised $60, a portion of which he donated to a nonprofit. He was hooked from there.

Connor then pivoted to an art business, inspired by a YouTube video of a man making paintings of planets with nothing but paper and spray paint. He studied and researched how to do it and then started making his own creations. One of his paintings caught the attention of his mom’s coworker, who became his first client, paying $5 for a picture. However, one of his favorite pieces is one he made for a Roosevelt math teacher, which still graces her classroom walls.

Connor holds up this first "Lawnster" shirt.
Connor holds up this first “Lawnster” shirt.

But, the entrepreneurial bug didn’t stop there. At the age of 9, Connor stumbled upon a YouTube video featuring a young boy who had written to President Donald Trump asking if he could mow the White House lawn, and the President agreed. Intrigued and inspired by the video, Connor turned to his Mom and asked how he could do something similar. Armed with a notebook, he researched and documented his idea, the items he would need, and the potential obstacles he might face. With the help of his dad, a company name and logo were created, and thus, “Lawnster Lawn Care” was born. Over the past four years, Connor has been slowly growing his business and now mows several yards for neighbors and family friends.

Not content with just mowing lawns during the warmer months, Connor decided to venture into snow removal as well. He crafted his own homemade snowblade and attached it to the family’s 4-wheeler. After five prototypes and a lot of trial and error, he thinks he has finally perfected his design and has been using it to clear his neighbors’ driveways this winter.

“I love making things and making people happy. Oh, and making money,” says Connor, reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey. “The key is to start with an idea and then do lots of research. The hardest part is getting your first customer, but once you have that, you can keep growing.”

Connor chose to attend Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy, by entering the Magnet Lottery, specifically because it aligned with his interest in business and entrepreneurship. He is enjoying his time at Roosevelt and is eager to build his business and leadership skills through all of the school’s different opportunities and career enrichment experiences. He is excited to apply what he learns in class to further elevate his own business. His eyes are already set on attending a trade school in the future, with plans to expand his Lawnster Lawn and Snow Care business.

“Connor is a pretty special kid, doing things that most adults haven’t even done. He is a great example of how magnet schools can help nurture a student’s interests, talents, and career goals,” shares Kate Riley, Roosevelt’s Magnet Coordinator.

As Connor continues to blossom at Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy, he is a testament to the power Magnet Schools have to foster student interests and career aspirations. The future is bright for Connor Fitzgerald, and we can’t wait to see where his entrepreneurial spirit takes him next!

To learn more about CRCSD’s six Magnet Schools, click here.