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Top picks for new school name include recent premier and mayor

Three categories for school naming: geographical, Indigenous and historical. | The school is scheduled to open in Sept 2025.

top names, south langford, elementary
Top 12 names for the upcoming SD62 elementary school in South Langford, presented Feb 15, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Thursday February 16, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated February 18, 2023 & August 10, 2023]


SCHOOL DISTRICT SD62 INSIGHT NEWS | by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Name options are in the works for the new elementary school in south Langford.

Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has been reaching out to parents and community leaders for school name ideas, for the upcoming new elementary school in the south area of Langford (at Latoria and Klahanie).

A school’s name has significant long-term impact. Starting with school logos, mascots, colours and themes, the school name becomes embedded into the life of the students, their families, teachers, local events, and the broader community.

top names, south langford, sd62
Top 12 names for the upcoming SD62 elementary school in South Langford, presented Feb 15, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

School construction is underway toward completion for students to start attending in September 2025. The population of the west shore continues to grow rapidly; this new school will accommodate about 450 students in Kindergarten through Grade 5.

Last night about 50 school community enthusiasts gathered at the new PEXSISEN Elementary in Westhills, to learn how the school naming is coming along.


Tough choice:

The SD62 Board (seven trustees) will make the final selection of the name for the south Langford elementary school at their March board meeting (March 14 – see Island Social Trends community calendar for livestream link), aligning with policy to choose a school name from options that are either geographical, Indigenous or historical.

ravi parmar, school name
SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar at the south Langford school naming event, Feb 15, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

This is mostly a new board (five of seven trustees are new to the SD62 board table since October 2022), and in the eyes of the public this could be one of their first major decisions.

In previous name-selection discussions over the last 15 years, not a whole lot has happened around name discussions at public board meetings… at the board meeting the school community and the public generally hear the tip of the iceberg as to the final selection. Individual trustees may or may not articulate their reason for choosing a particular name; board decisions are considered to be representative of the entire board, once a vote is taken and approved.

This school’s name selection could (and probably should) produce more intensive deliberation than usual. Geographical is fairly straightforward, and Indigenous is clearly now always considered through SD62’s ongoing consultation about local Indigenous Names input.

Top 12 names:

The top 12 names that emerged from many suggestions through the school naming public engagement are:

  • Geographical: Langford or South Langford | Latoria | Olympic View | Triangle Mountain
  • Local Indigenous Culture and Language: An Indigenous name gifted by the nations | Cosen (means ‘star’) | Klahanie (means ‘outdoors’) | Qelensen (means ‘bald eagle’)
  • Historical names: Sarah Beckett | John Horgan | Scott Manning | Stew Young

Public engagement was done over recent weeks primarily online using Thought Exchange (based on popularity responses to names entered first, and it builds from there), though last month Superintendent Scott Stinson said some input had been received by email and letter.

Hot debate:

The hottest debate will likely happen around the historical name options, given that the province’s 36th premier John Horgan (local to Langford) is just now retiring and that Langford’s long-time mayor Stew Young just wrapped up his 30-year municipal political career that shaped the city into a modern metropolis. The SD62 school district (and by default, many families) has been impacted by the decisions of both of these leaders over the past many years.

premier horgan, mayor stew young
Proud political partners in bringing the new west shore post secondary campus to fruition, Premier John Horgan and Langford Mayor Stew Young shared a photo-moment at the construction site, August 3, 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

There are other Langford schools coming in the future (an elementary school on Leigh Road and a high school on McCallum Road), so this might ease the angst of the board that must choose (in this category at least) between two very high-profile leaders in Langford.

The other two historical choices would carry different overtones:young mother Sarah Beckett was killed in the line of duty in the heart of downtown Langford. A local Langford playground was named after her in 2019, and there is an ongoing policing scholarship in her name through the Capital Regional District.

Scott Manning was a long-time educator in SD62 (vice principal at John Muir Elementary and Ruth King Elementary, as well as principal of Colwood Elementary, David Cameron Elementary, Spencer Middle School and Wishart Elementary).

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground, official opening, West Shore Voice News
The August 23, 2019 issue of West Shore Voice News featured the official opening of the Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground.

Casual event:

Last night there was no detailed formal presentation about the new school (as was done in March 2020 to formally present architectural designs for the then-to-be PEXSISEN Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle Schools).

For a few minutes in a small crowded meeting space, SD62 Chair Ravi Parmar greeted the crowd and invited them to look around in the room at static presentations (and one large virtual tour video) and to engage with trustees and staff. The old-school method of attaching sticky-notes to boards was employed.

sd62, event, feb 2023
south Langford elementary school name process announcement event held Feb 15, 2023 at PEXSISEN Elementary in Langford. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

For some reason, a few SD62 organizers felt it would be a very small turnout. But enough people showed up that in a small meeting room at PEXSISEN the event felt crowded. Still remembering the recent COVID pandemic, one notes there was one door in, same door out — a compact space and pretty much no one wore masks.

Who was there:

In addition to the board chair, also attending from the board were Sd62 trustees Amanda Dowhy (Vice-Chair) and Cendra Beaton. SD62 senior executive staff in attendance were Paul Block, Associate Superintendent (currently Acting Superintendent) and Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull, as well as Associate Superintendent Monica Braniff. Also attending from the school district were District Principal of Capital Planning Windy Beadall, Strategic Communications manager Kristen McGillivray, and Transportation Manager Randy Cobb.

Mitzi Dean, MLA, Esquimalt-Metchosin, Colwood
Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin)

Former elected officials who were part of bringing the new school ahead were also there, including former SD62 trustee Wendy Hobbs, former SD62 trustee Dianna Seaton and former Langford Councillor Lanny Seaton. From John Horgan’s outgoing constituency office Hans Fredericksen attended.

The development community was represented at last night’s gathering by West Shore Developers Association President Ron Coutre and long-time west shore developer Jim Hartshorne.

Cindy Andrew from The Village Initiative was also there.

SD62 took advantage of the opportunity to have info tables from their Human Resources department (hiring is ongoing) and the Salvation Army. There was no architectural presentation.



Choosing a name for the South Langford new elementary school (Jan 21, 2023)

SD62 Sept 2023 waitlists for Nature K and French Immersion (Jan 20, 2023)

Another new school to be built in west-shore SD62 / South Langford (June 14, 2022)

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has followed the news of School District 62 since 2014, attending nearly all SD62 board and committee meetings since 2014. | SD62 NEWS ARCHIVE

Ms Brooke has been the editor of a series of publications on the west shore since 2008: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020) and now Island Social Trends (online since mid-2020). | FREE ENEWS | PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTIONS

Mary Brooke was a SD62 school trustee candidate in the October 2022 election (Belmont Zone — Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands).