Student shines with Seas2Seas project
By Brianna Forte
When you’re assigned a project in high school, it’s tempting to pick the easiest option, knock it out quickly, and move on with your life. But for Edgewood Junior-Senior High School senior Caroline Zeek, when she was assigned a community-service senior project, she decided to focus her passion and skills into starting her own jewelry business and donating the proceeds to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society.
“Everyone at our school gets a senior project,” Zeek explained. “A senior project is supposed to help out the community, and usually people will do events like lacrosse tournaments, soccer tournaments, or maybe even a dodgeball tournament, and they raise money and then donate back to the community.”
Zeek is a member of her school’s lacrosse team, and originally was planning on hosting a lacrosse tournament for her senior service project before Covid-19 precautions became a factor. At a loss for inspiration, her stepfather suggested using her sea glass collection to make and sell jewelry.
“I’ve been collecting sea glass for years with my family, because it’s always been a super fun activity that we were all able to do at my grandmother’s condo on the beach,” Zeek said.
With the help of her little sister, Zeek used sea glass from her collection of more than 1,000 pieces to make unique wire-wrapped pendants for necklaces as well as earrings.
Once Zeek decided on the product she could sell, she knew she wanted to donate her profits to a marine conservation organization. Sea turtles especially inspired Zeek, as she has had many awe-inspiring interactions and has even seen them swim past her while out on her surfboard.
“I specifically chose the Sea Turtle Preservation Society because due to Covid-19 they haven’t been able to have events and stuff where they receive most of their donations, and I’ve seen the Sea Turtle Preservation Society on Instagram and Facebook beforehand,” Zeek said. “And so I was like, oh, that would be so awesome if I was able to help them out!”
As an artist and a previous small-business owner, Zeek’s grandmother helped her flesh out her small business model, price her products, order and purchase materials, and collect the sea glass used for the jewelry.
Zeek named her company the Sea2Seas Trading Company, which she said, “came about because the company is taking sea glass, a form of pollution, out of the sea and in exchange Sea2Seas Trading Company is giving back to the sea by donating our profits to help marine programs like STPS.”
From the start of her company in August 2020 to January 2021, Zeek marketed her sea glass jewelry through her company’s Instagram account, participated in farmer’s markets, and also kept a display case at the STPS Turtle House gift shop in Indialantic. In the end, Zeek raised more than $1,000 to donate to STPS.
On Feb. 1, Zeek presented her check to Susan Skinner, the STPS board of directors chair.
Zeek felt a moment of achievement when she was able to present STPS with the money she has raised through her company.
“I was just so excited because all this hard work and late nights and learning curves and obstacles have resulted in this moment. It was finally here, and I got to reward STPS with this big check,” Zeek said.
Zeek mentioned that educational efforts were something she found important, and so Skinner designated the money raised by Zeek to go toward educational materials STPS will be distributing during the 2021 sea turtle nesting season.
These educational materials include paper pamphlets, species cards with the ID tracks of nesting sea turtles, and other items like “sea turtles dig the dark” stickers. Skinner said these materials are distributed each year to local residents as well as resorts and condos so that residents and guests know to keep it dark during the sea turtle nesting season.
Skinner and other board members are honored that Zeek chose STPS to be the beneficiary of her project.
“It’s nice to see that passion, to see somebody so excited and enthusiastic and wanting to do something,” Skinner said. “She’s found something she can do and still help where her passion lies.”
Zeek plans to continue raising money for STPS with her Sea2Seas Trading Company. You can check out her beautiful jewelry pieces here on the Instagram account.
Thank you, Caroline!