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Who is Apple Awards, what do we do and how can we help you honor and recognize achievement and loyalty to your organization and the people closest to you?

Who do YOU know?

I have a dear friend who is a high school guidance counselor. She has had this job over the years through many changes of administration and policy. Each year she has a large number of students to meet and encourage. My first thought is that she is there to help them plan for the future – know their strengths, choose a career goal, choose their next educational endeavor. For some, this is what she does. For others she hopes first to keep them in high school long enough to graduate. Over the brief time she has them she must develop a relationship and ask for their trust. She holds her breath as she watches them navigate their own personal mine fields – homelessness, abuse and neglect, drugs, alcohol, loneliness, ridicule, promiscuity, anxiety. Often policy changes leave her with more than she can possibly do and fewer tools with which to do anything. Their situations are on her mind far past the dismissal of the last class.

b2ap3_thumbnail_20150522_141415-1-1.jpgI know a woman who was an elementary school teacher in a small private school. Her example was that of great caring for her students, their families and their greatest good. She dealt with the problems of modern families, showing them compassion, integrity and principles of truthfulness with love. When an administrator was needed for the school, she accepted the position and added that to her teaching role. She left only to become caretaker for her elderly mother. When that was no longer necessary she could have retired, but returned to teaching.

I know a man who teaches music in a high school for gifted students. He holds a second job in music ministry for his church but that doesn't keep him from spending time with his students and knowing them personally. He is fun, energetic, smart and kind and for all of that his students love him. He pushes them to excellence in their band competitions, he spends hours on their special projects and teaches them to view music with high regard. He also takes their problems home at the end of the day. His church family often hears requests to pray for his students.

 It is the end of the school year. May is teacher appreciation month. Who do you know who needs to be affirmed, encouraged or thanked for being who they are and doing what they do in the field of education? What will you do about it?

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Ring Them In

Bells have been used to summon people to gather together in many historical settings.  As early as the 8th century BC there are depictions of bells in ancient Chinese tablets.  And the oldest bells around today date back to the 5th century BC.  In the early years of our country (and others) bells were common on churches and schools and were used to rally townspeople for meetings of all kinds and even for emergencies.  Think of our famous Liberty Bell.  Their sound carried far and could be heard by those working outside as well as in buildings.  How else might you alert an entire community before the advent of telephone, or electric amplification? The bells had it.  For a very interesting history from a bell manufacturer click here

Bells are considered percussion instruments and can be made of many different materials, from clay to wood, glass or metal.  Their size and structure can be changed to give them a variety of pitches and sounds.  If you have ever heard a performance by a good hand bell choir, you will know that they are beautiful sounding instruments.  

As mentioned, bells are associated with schools and education both past and present.  They signal not only the start of the school day but also recess and dismissal so they are considered symbols of freedom from the classroom.  The school bell, if large, was hung in a belfry on top of the building or mounted on the side of the building or in the schoolyard.  Teachers often had a smaller hand bell on their desk, such as the ones pictured below.  They have become symbols of freedom also for retiring educators, memorializing their years of service.  

These brass bells from Apple Awards can be personalized and make a quality gift that will be treasured. Unlike the largest known bell which resides in Moscow and weighs 440,000 lbs. these bells are easily packaged and shipped to you at a reasonable cost.  


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How Do You Like Them Apples?

b2ap3_thumbnail_20140527_134203_20140619-123645_1.jpg(Excuse my grammar.) Your next question after "how do you like them?" might be "why would someone  want to have one?" Forget about mother Eve - she shouldn't have wanted the apple she got - and don't ask Snow White either, poor thing. So how has the apple come to be a symbol of excellence and accomplishment in education? Good question.


Since Apple Awards as a business focuses on awards for educators of all varieties let's look at some of the traditions behind the "apple for the teacher" angle.  


Some sources say that as early as the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries people who taught and were poorly paid sometimes received their wages in the form of food items – primarily potatoes and apples. I guess if an apple a day really does keep the doctor away that would have been a pretty good deal. By the late 1800's it was a popular custom in the U.S. to give an apple to the teacher on the first day of school, but now it was more a token of appreciation for their services. It's continued into the 20th and 21st centuries – a custom we share with other countries (Denmark and Sweden). The apple must be a beauty and freshly polished.


Of course there are always those who would use the token for their own advancement – hence the term “apple polisher” came into use in the 1920's. When you learned your alphabet, what did “A” stand for? Not arugula, not acrobat, not airplane... yup, apple. So if you wanted an A grade in your schoolwork you might try bribing the teacher with an apple, if you were that kind of student.


And to prove the apple's popularity to coerce, in 1939 out came the song “An Apple for the Teacher” sung by Bing Crosby for the film “The Star Maker”. 



Somewhere along that timeline the apple also became a symbol of growth and change, which is one of the primary goals of education. What better gift for a talented, inspiring teacher than an enduring, beautiful apple for their desk (won't rot or wither, no worms...)





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