Published: 02nd June 2021
Tennis champ, concerned environmentalist, book drive conductor — there is so much that this teen from Vizag is doing
Dhruv Advaith Kolagatla started playing tennis at the young age of six but that's not the only passion that drives this teenager. His heart also beats for the environment and for needy students too
By the time you read this, Dhruv Advaith Kolagatla might already be off to Delhi from where he will be heading to the National Training Camp in Gurugram. A month of rigorous training there will follow so that he can bring his A game to the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) tournaments. Ranked 68 in the Under-14 category and 6 in the Under-12 category (both in India), participating in prestigious tournaments like Road To Wimbledon in Chandigarh organised by the Wimbledon Foundation — with this being the 16-year-old's past, his future is certainly bright.
He is most grateful to his parents Madhu and Aparna Kolagatla
"Once you are on the court, you put all your differences aside and simply play. That's the biggest lesson I have learnt from the sport," says the Visakhapatnam-born. His passion for the game is certainly inspiring, but the first thing one needs to understand about Dhruv is that his interests are multifold and he intends to explore his potential in every possible way.
Such a winner
Dhruv has the maturity to understand that he is privileged in ways that many children are not. To this effect, he joined the NGO PURE (People for Urban and Rural Education), sourced a few working models of solar units and windmills (from his father's friend who is a university professor) and took them to three Zilla Parishad High Schools in AP to teach students there about the environment and renewable resources — two topics he is extremely passionate about (and knowledgeable too, I must add). "I looked confident, but trust me when I say I was shivering. There were some students who looked bigger than me, but I put on a brave face and delivered these sessions that were usually 25 to 30 minutes long," says the budding environmentalist. The same professor helped him make contact with the schools and the sessions were usually for students from classes VIII to X. While he started delivering these in December 2019, now, naturally, they have been halted.
The three Zilla Parishad High Schools he took sessions at are in Makavarapalem, Gaddiraju Venkatpuram and Ramachandran Peta
What hasn't come to a halt is the book donation drive that this Class XI student of Chinmaya International Residential School, Coimbatore, is conducting along with five of his friends. It all started in May 2020, when they called for book donations via social media and WhatsApp. They either offer to pick up the books if it is within a comfortable radius or ask the donors to drop them off at their house. As many as 564 books have been collected, segregated and distributed to two shelter homes in Vizag as per the age group of children residing there. "Now, the second time around, we are looking to collect two lakh books. We hope to achieve this target by the end of this year," says Dhruv about the drive that was announced three weeks ago.
In terms of the future, this teenager who wears multiple hats doesn't intend to take his eyes off the tennis ball. He also hopes to pursue engineering, especially in the area of energy, in a college abroad. "I am passionate about the environment because it gives us everything. Rural students have seen their farmer parents worship the earth but they are unaware of the bigger picture. For example, pollution, a menace in urban areas. When I informed them about how petrol is detrimental to the environment, they were so surprised," he shares. Dhruv hopes that he can continue these invigorating sessions so that he can pass on as much knowledge as possible.
The books from the first drive were donated to SOS Children’s Village Bheemunipatnam and Generation Yuvaa, Marripalem
Dhruv's achievements are not bound by space, but we list a few here:
- Participated in the World Robotic Olympiad and Model United Nations
- Climate Counsellor and Youth Ambassador for International Centre for Culture and Education, Supported by UN
- During the lockdown last year, he delivered free online fitness sessions with Wings For Life Foundation
- Organised two online seminars with PURE — one on Environmental Concerns and the other on Digital Learning
- Also writes poems