LAWRENCE — An offer was made to the Wetherbee School 10 days ago. Whichever classroom collects the most soda, juice and plastic water bottles, as part of the Boston Celtics environmental initiative on recycling, gets a personal visit from forward Jeff Green.
Seventh grade teacher Patricia Gonzalez felt like she hit the trifecta when the challenge was made.
“First off, I am very competitive. Secondly, I love basketball,” said Gonzalez, who played the sport at Lawrence High a decade ago. “And I’m the recycling coordinator at the school. This was a no-brainer for me.”
Ten days after the challenge, the Wetherbee School collected an astonishing 82,600 bottles. Gonzalez’s class collected 14,831 bottles, easily the champion.
So Green, who scored 20 points for the Celtics just 12 hours earlier, gave Ms. Gonzalez’s class an up close and personal question and answer session as well as 25 tickets to an upcoming Celtics game and an autographed recycle bag for groceries.
“My father has cried only once in my life,” Green told the class. “It was when I walked the stage (at Georgetown University last May) and got my diploma ... Trust me, education was important in my house. And it should be in yours, too.”
Yesterday’s event, which was co-sponsored by the Celtics and J.N. Phillips Auto Glass, is part of an initiative to promote environmental responsibility for students.
After visiting the class, Green, former Celtic Walter McCarty, J.N. Phillips Auto Glass president Bob Rosenfield and team mascot “Lucky,” went to an assembly at the Wetherbee gymnasium, where 700 boys and girls from the elementary and junior high were waiting.
Rosenfield showed the students a miniature windshield and a baggie full of “white pellets.”
“See these white pellets? Well look up at cinder blocks,” said Rosenfield, pointing around the gym. “We now recycle our auto glass into these pellets. And they use these pellets to make the cinder blocks stronger. We’re trying to do our part.”