Honors Business and Entrepreneurship students in the Upper School have launched O3 Apparel, an eco-fashion brand that makes clothing from 50% upcycled cotton and 50% recycled plastic. The development of this brand evolved from research conducted on the impact of single-use plastic on the local coastline, and work with mentors and conservationists from Gumbo Limbo. Recently, the project reached a climax point when students attended a Boca Raton City Council meeting to advocate for changes in local laws.
In advance of starting this undertaking, several students in the class were impacted by a video they watched in AP Environmental Science about 4Ocean, which gave them the concept to pursue the issue of pollution of plastic in local waters. Once they decided on the idea and the business, they contacted Gumbo Limbo to see if they could sell the shirts on-site and give that organization a cut of the profits.
During a recent visit to Gumbo Limbo, they had a full tour of the facility. The group learned that two baby turtles died while they were there as a result of plastic consumption, an event which resonated with the group on the dire reality of plastic pollution on Florida coastlines.
On Tuesday, January 14, a group of Honors Business and Entrepreneurship students visited City Hall and attended a City Council meeting to advocate for a resolution that supports the repeal of Florida statutes 403.7033 and 500.90. These statutes preempt municipalities from regulating single-use plastic and polystyrene containers. The students who worked on this project include Andrew Matsil ’20 and Natasha Lomnitz ’20 (not pictured) Will Jordan ’20, Nicole Ged ’20, Sydney Sheinker ’20, Yancy Longin ’20, Rafael Handal ’20, Kristian Ruzicka ’21, and Stone Sacks ’20.
Nicole Ged spoke as both a resident of Boca Raton and as an advocate in support of the repeal of these resolutions alongside presentations from Oceana, Gumbo Limbo, and 4Ocean. “During the City Council meeting, I said that I was representing Saint Andrew’s School and I remarked that even though we are a group of students, we are trying to make a difference through work in our Honors Business and Entrepreneurship class and our sustainability brand O3 Apparel,” she said.
Nicole commented on the fact that they have grown up in a generation that views recycling and climate change as significant issues. Reflecting upon her remarks to the council members, she said, “Everyone learns the 3 Rs when they are young: "reduce, reuse, and recycle". But unfortunately, not the most significant R which is "refuse". In the case of repealing Florida statutes 403.7033 and 500.90, it’s about refusing to use the single use plastic, and finding sustainable alternatives,” she mused.
Saint Andrew’s Honors Business and Entrepreneurship students recognized that the repeal helps to not only implement the idea of refusal but also to educate those who don’t know as much about the negative impact that plastic has on the environment.
“It was cool to be able to be so young and still make a difference,” said Nicole. “I am turning 18 in January, which will make me old enough to vote. As a young person, I've never thought about the impact of my vote and voice until I was immersed in an issue I care deeply about,” she added.
Prior to attending this meeting, each student in the class also emailed a letter to Council member Monica Mayotte in support of this initiative.
“My students were extremely excited about their visit to City Hall, and for the chance to speak with decision-makers in local politics in support of their cause,” said Cristen Magaletti, Honors Business and Entrepreneurship teacher.
SA proudly acknowledges Honors Business and Entrepreneurship students’ dedication to making an impact in their community and throughout Florida.