Fifth graders Play Green and win a party with an Astro.

They were more than willing to share what exactly they did to earn the title “Greenest Classroom,” but the fifth-graders at Heritage Elementary School in Deer Park also had some other pressing business to tend to with third baseman Chris Johnson.

They had questions. Lots and lots of questions. And, as typical fifth-graders go, their responses to the answers were endearingly predictable. The boys cheered when Johnson confirmed that yes, he likes to play video games, and the girls squealed when he also confirmed that no, he is not married.

Other questions: Is it fun being famous? (“It’s awesome. To be able to come here and meet you guys is huge for me.”) Did you come over here in a limo? (“No.”) Can we take a ride in the limo? (“Yes, if I had one with me.”) Do you recycle? (“Of course!”) Who do you look up to? (“My mom.”)

(Watch the video here)

Johnson spent an hour or so with this class from Heritage Elementary, the Grand Prize winners of the Astros Greenest Classroom online contest. Teachers and students were invited to submit an essay that demonstrated what their classroom was doing to be green. The winning class received the special player visit, 100 tickets to Friday’s game and recognition on the field prior to the game.

Johnson began his visit by reading “Curious George Plants a Tree” and later presented an autographed copy for each kid. The kids in turn explained to Johnson and radio announcer Dave Raymond, the emcee of the event, what they did to earn the title of Greenest Classroom: they recycled cans, refilled water bottles for multiple use, used both sides of scratch paper and — once a quarter — walked the grounds of the school to see who can pick up the most litter (boys against girls).

The visit was part of the Astros Play Green® in Education school initiative, designed to teach students at an early age about the environment and conservation to assist them in building a lifetime of responsible actions that make a positive difference.

The program was named a 2010 Mayor’s Outstanding Proud Partner Award winner in recognition of the Astros efforts to both teach and raise conservation awareness to young students in a compelling, entertaining and knowledge-retaining manner.

In addition to meeting a big league ballplayer and celebrating their Green win, the kids were also were given sage words of advice that any 10-year-old would take to heart.

“We believe in recycling and taking care of the planet,” Raymond said. “You are motivated, intelligent kids. Maybe one thing I can give to you today is if you really want to excel, if you reeeeeally want to get somewhere…listen to baseball on the radio.”

And with that, let’s take a look at images from the event:

The kids were excited to see CJ, but when Junction Jack walked in the room, all eyes turned to him. That usually happens when kids are around (Didn't hurt that Junction was passing out free green hats).

CJ, Raymond, and the winning 5th graders from Heritage Elementary.

CJ reads "Curous George Plants a Tree" to the class.

Junction Jack passes the time by checking out library books.

Each kid received a copy of the Curious George book, autographed and handed out by Johnson.

High fives all around

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