Sixth grader leads plastic cleanup

While most middle-school students played sports and video games on the misty afternoon of Aug. 11, eleven-year-old Raghav Gadhvi, Class of 2026, carried two empty bags with him as he led a “plastic clean up.”

Gadhvi, along with some seniors from the Class of 2020, covered Midlands dormitory to Clifton Hostel, picking up the pieces of trash that accumulated in filthy corners.

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Gadhvi at the start of the collection

“I noticed that Woodstock is a lot dirtier than I expected,” Gadhvi said. While the collection group was small in number, Gadhvi, who was roughly half the size of the senior students that accompanied him, led the charge with a bright, jubilant face. This was not just work for him. It was fun.

When the group ended their cleanup, Gadhvi proudly held in both of his hands two bags of collected trash. Asked about his reflections on the cleanup, he said, “There was a lot of trash that was not good for nature. There were some wrappers of tobacco and all of that.”

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Gadhvi proudly holding two bags of collected garbage

This motivation for environmental action, according to Gadhvi, was largely amplified due to his participation in the “Tread Lightly” session during the annual student retreat at the beginning of the school year: “I thought I should do something to help the environment. One thing I noticed that there was trash in our basketball court,” he said. 

“Plastic harms our environment, too.”

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Gadhvi in action

Gadhvi’s actions and energy inspired some of the seniors that accompanied him in the activity. Veer Arya, Class of 2020 and current StuCo president, said, “The kid saw a problem, then he thought of a solution, and went for it. That’s pretty admirable. Woodstock is a great place filled with individuals with great ideas, but to follow through is another level.”

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Arya with fellow members of Class of 2020 collecting plastic

Natalie Menon, Class of 2020 and participant of the clean-up, said, “We thought of cleaning up as something big and unachievable. But [Gadhvi] went for the smaller, more important things.”

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The cleanup crew, led by Gadhvi

Furthermore, Gadhvi plans to hold this activity every weekend. He is also looking to start his own initiative in the Middle Years combating plastic waste and saving the environment.

Asked to share a message to his peers, he replied, “If you are free on Saturdays or Sundays, host something that is fun for people and is good for the environment.”

“Instead of just playing on your computers and playing outside.”

Edited by Aarti Malhotra

Images by Knema Gardner

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