Sooke School District 62 Trustee Ravi Parmar announced the new names of two West Langford schools, set to open in Sept. 2022. PEXSISEN Elementary and Centre Mountain LELLUM Middle were names gifted by Songhees and Beecher Bay First Nations. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

New Langford school names influenced by local First Nations

Sooke School District middle and elementary buildings to open in September 2022

The Sooke School District named it’s two new Langford schools inspired by First Nations language.

PEXSISEN [pronounced puck-see-sung] Elementary will house 500 elementary students in a two-storey building. The name – meaning ‘the opening of hands’ or ‘to have one’s hands wide open’ – was gifted by the Songhees First Nations.

Centre Mountain LELLYM [pronounced lay-lum] Middle will fit 700 Grade 6 through 8 students with three-storeys. The name was gifted by the Beecher Bay Nation and means ‘house’ and ‘the idea of community, where we raise our children.’

Centre Mountain is located near Westshore Parkway and is a treaty settlement between Metchosin, Langford and Beecher Bay, that includes the provincial and federal government.

“It gets me choked up to think about these names because it recognizes our history,” said Russ Chipps, chief counsellor of Beecher Bay. “We’re all treated as equals … it’s not something that you don’t think about anymore with the territories getting acknowledged.”

READ MORE: Sarah Beckett among top three name choices for two new Sooke District schools

Sooke School District trustee Ravi Parmar pointed out it is the fastest growing district in the province.

“Back in the early 2000s, we were declining in enrollment. It’s amazing to me that there’s a need for another secondary school out here now.”

Parmar says their latest numbers show that they’ve been growing by 300 to 500 students a year in the school district.

Popular potential names were Sarah Beckett, Westhills, and an Indigenous-inspired name, according to survey results from December 2019.

Both schools on the west side of Langford are expected open by September 2022.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
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