Two AP students at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton are putting their chemistry prowess to good use in the time of COVID-19, and they’re doing it for a good cause.
Nicholas Horowitz and Matthew Russo, both juniors at Saint Andrews’ School and top scholars in the AP chemistry program, were supposed to represent their school at the Florida chemistry competition. When that event became another casualty of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the two boys decided to use their newfound free time and their chemistry skills to support the community.
The students developed their own hand sanitizer, which they named Purificate, and have been selling it to local businesses and donating profits to charities such as 211 and The Red Cross.
“Running a business is difficult, but running one in the midst of a pandemic is even more challenging,” said Nicholas. “The acquisition of raw materials, labeling, and packaging have been complicated, especially during a global crisis where there is a shortage of nearly everything.”
“We also had to change our distribution model from pickup to home delivery for local customers,” Matthew shared. “Understanding the financials and selecting the charities to partner with has been a priceless experience for us.”
They utilized skills learned in school from their chemistry teacher Paula Martin, ordering the raw materials needed to synthesize their own hand sanitizer and taking care to ensure that it would not cause dry skin for repeat users like some other, harsher versions of the product on the market.
The students have sold out of their hand sanitizer three times so far, and are continuing to produce the product and support the community.