Webster's Dictionary defines RIPE this way:
The apple has long been the universal symbol for TEACHER. As you enter the College of Education and begin your quest for certification, we recognize the fine qualities you possess and honor your accomplishments thus far. We recognize too that before you earn the title TEACHER, you must continue to learn, grow and mature through real-world classroom experiences. Today we present you with a GREEN apple, acknowledging that you are on your way, but for now, you are not quite 'ripe'. We commit to assist and guide you through your "ripening" process.