Iole Appugliese 1912-1971

1978 Social Social

"Miss A" was in fact named Iole Appugliese, and she was born in Montréal to Greek immigrant parents. Her pupils, who could not pronounce her name, called her "Miss Apple Daisy." She retired only when she discovered she had terminal cancer. While many pupils could not remember who their other early grade teachers were, every one remembered Miss Apple Daisy’s name and had memories and stories to share.

Iole Appugliese was a grade one teacher in a poor district of Montréal at the Royal Arthur School. For more than thirty years she taught the young beginners, and gradually, over the years, the successes in life of so many of her students began to catch the attention of observers. In the low socio-economic standards of the community in which she worked, no one was expected to reach high levels of achievement in the wider community. However, in this case, when school records were examined, the findings regarding Miss Appugliese’s students were startling. Intelligence quotients, those common measures of ability that normally change by small amounts in the course of the elementary years of schooling, had jumped by abnormally high percentages between grades one and six. One of her former students had become President of McGill University and it was he who had investigated the growth in IQs and had the results published in the Harvard Educational Review.

In her 34 years at this one high-poverty school, "Miss A" taught about 1200 students. While the researchers were unable to follow up all of these students, the cohorts they studied showed such consistent patterns that we can be sure she had an immeasurable effect on countless lives which could easily have gone nowhere, due to such unfavourable beginnings.

Iole Appugliese was nominated at the Academy of Great Montrealers in 1978.