Why Apples Are Used as a Symbol for School

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By Prisha Goyal

We see apples on back to school posters, stickers, and really a lot of stuff to do withschool. But how has the apple become such an iconic symbol for education? Let’s startoff with a bit of history.

Apples weren’t originally the sweet fruit we know them to be today. In fact, they werebitter and not very tasty at all. But apples could be used to make other food items, ciderbeing a very popular one. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, apples gainedpopularity as a healthy food item. People also started to selectively breed sweeterapples to make it a more pleasurable fruit to eat.

During this time period, there weren’t many public schools in the U.S. like there are rightnow, and many kids didn’t receive a proper education. The few rich people who could afford it chose to hire private tutors for their children’s education. Other people decidedto group together and pay for teachers for their children, providing them room andboard in exchange for education. Apples were a way for children and their parents tohelp and show appreciation for the teacher, since many families owned orchards andfarms.

Later too, apples remained a symbol for teachers and education in general. Studentstoday also take apples for teachers on the first day of school, keeping the old traditionalive.