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New south Langford elementary school receives Indigenous name

In south Langford on Monday, reconciliation was on full display as a naming ceremony took place on the site of what will soon become School District 62’s newest elementary school.

“SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ,” said Lavina Charles, an elder with Beecher Bay First Nation.

The name means salmon children in the SENĆOŦEN language.

Charles was given the honour of choosing the school's name.

“It’s a small part of the reconciliation that is happening right now,” said Charles.

“It’s been an honour,” said Russ Chipps, Beecher Bay First Nation Chief. “Things have changed in the western communities completely.”

Chipps said the word reconciliation gets used a lot with little action, but on Monday he said that wasn’t the case.

“In the western communities, this is a word that people practice,” said Chipps.

The 480-seat school is set to open in the fall of 2025. It will provide much needed spaces in a school district that continues to see tremendous growth.

“So we’re around five to six per cent growth rate, huge comparatively throughout the province,” said Scott Stinson, superintendent of the Sooke School District.

This will be the third new school opened in the district that has been given an Indigenous name, Pexsisen Elementary School and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School being the other two.

“Even with the addition of this new school in a couple of years, we’ll still have a deficit of seats,” said Stinson.

The school district is particularly concerned about the secondary level. Royal Bay recently completed an expansion of 600 seats, yet it will be over capacity this year. Portables have now been brought in for the upcoming school year.

Belmont Secondary School was built to accommodate 1,200 students. This spring that school will have nearly 1,600 attendees.

“This growth rate is not projected to slow down anytime soon for us,” said Stinson.

In June, the school district submitted its capital plan to the education ministry. It’s asking for a new elementary school on Skirt Mountain and a new secondary school in Langford.

“We typically get our response in March of each school year, so we won’t know until March whether we have any additional projects moving forward,” said Stinson.

“I look forward to meeting with the Minister of Education in the weeks ahead,” said Ravi Parmar, MLA for Langford-Juan De Fuca.

Parmar is the past chair of School District 62, and now the area’s MLA. He says he will be pushing his colleagues in the legislature for more funding.

“Now I’m looking forward to working with the district and advocating and delivering more new schools for this growing community,” said Parmar.

As of Monday, the new elementary school is no longer nameless, a much needed addition to the education system in a growing district that will likely be over capacity shortly after opening. Top Stories


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