July 31, 2020
 
Today our club paid warm tribute to Jean Truex, wife of our club member Paul Truex, for her 18 years of dedicated service in creating and running the Rotary-supported pre-school and early literacy program in Guelph called 1*2*3 GO! 
 
Brian Martin, chair of our club's Literacy & Numeracy Committee for two years, reported that the 1*2*3 GO! program would not be resuming when schools reopen next September because the program's operating space at the Tytler Public School is no longer available due to renovations. 

THANK YOU, Jean, on behalf of the hundreds of children whose lives you have improved. 
 
How did this remarkable program come about?
 
In 2002, Jean reached what was then the mandatory retirement age of 65, but she felt far from ready to stop teaching, so she proposed starting an “independent” early literacy program for three- and four-year-olds.
 
Jean's stellar reputation in teaching and determination to continue educating gained the support of Tytler's principal and superintendent. Jean was very well known at Tytler, having taught all subjects and every grade except kindergarten during her 26 years as a teacher at the Ontario Street school. Jean's name was  often mentioned in the same breath as Tytler.
 
The 1*2*3 GO! program was founded on the idea that early learning experiences in a school setting can have a lasting impact on a child's long-term development and provide the foundation for literacy, mathematics and science skills. The program didn't charge a fee, enrolling approximately 16 children who attended the program three mornings a week, from 9am to 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
 
The program also worked with and involved parents, to educate them on the crucial role they play in supporting their child's current and future learning experiences. It was designed to:
  • Develop social interaction skills with peers and others
  • Reinforce the values of society first taught at home
  • Develop listening and speaking skills
  • Develop language and math skills
  • Develop independent work habits
  • Introduce the child to information of value for future learning
  • Prepare the child for success
In thanking and recognizing Jean, Brian said that over its 18-year run, since its inception in September 2002, this labour of love by Jean and her team of volunteers has had a profoundly positive impact on the educational experience of 288 mostly lower socio-economic children, laying a foundation to help them succeed in their academic career and later life. This is a great example of Rotarians in action and the benefit of doing small things early that can have great leverage in the community.
 
Each year, the Rotary Club of Guelph provided an annual grant of $2,500 towards the cost of supplies and equipment. Many Rotarians and local dignitaries had the honour of visiting and reading aloud to the children, among them Bill Winegard and Liz Sandals. 
 
In 2016, our club nominated Jean for an Ontario Senior Achievement Award. This honour was presented to Jean at Queen's Park in November 2016 by then Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdswell. Jean is seated in the front row, far right.