M.R.S.S.S. Highlights

Thursday, February 27, 1964

On Thursday morning, February 20, an assembly was held in the gymnasium, taking the form of a panel discussion with the topic “What Destination, Youth?” As the subject’s extent was quite broad, only one part of it was discussed, but was done so quite thoroughly.

Principal D.A. Voth opened the assembly and then turned it over to vice-principal H.H. Hooge, who acted as moderator.

On the adult side of the panel were former councillor Danny Griffin, Pastor D. Emberg and Staff-Sgt. Drysdale of the RCMP. On the student side were Ruth Leng, Dave Harris, Wendy Rash and Keith Good.

The adult side presented various arguments based on questions asked by the moderator, and the student side replied to them. The assembly was successful because of the large attendance—which was not compulsory—and the interest in the topic.

On Tuesday evening, March 10, at 8 p.m., the Hairstylists’ Association of Maple Ridge will give a display in the gymnasium at the school. This program is to be presented under the auspices of the Students’ Council, and a silver collection will be taken. The Glee Club of the school, under the direction of Mrs. Shaw, will provide music.

Rings, sweaters and other school accessories are now available through the class representatives.

Some background on my column:

Local Pastor Duane Emberg released an inflammatory statement which appeared in the Gazette earlier. The way this was laid out in the paper looked almost like a paid ad. This is the text of that statement:

An open letter to the teenagers of our community.

I know most of you are fairly intelligent. I realize there are only about twenty percent (if it is that high) of your group that can be labelled as “toughs” or “junior hoods.” I understand that you are probably concerned about it and that you are wondering what to do.

Many adults say that they want “to do something” for you. They want to help you. All I can say about this is that you DO NOT NEED more entertainment. It’s high time you stepped out on your own and started “to do something” for yourself. You meet with parents, teachers and community leaders and cry for: facilities … dances … entertainment!

We adults don’t owe you a thing! This is a country where we have opportunity for expression. You have youth, intelligence and vigor on your side. If you want something badly enough you can do it yourself. Certainly, we adults will assist you and seek to guide you where you need it. But the problem is YOURS.

Are you so gutless that you allow your fear of “the toughs” to force the closure of your high school dance?

Are you so gutless that you let a small group of misguided “junior toughs” set the moral pace for you?

Are you so gutless that you can’t stand up for yourself and for what you know as right?

Don’t point your finger in glee at us adults. We may have fumbled the ball but you better pick it up and call some of your own signals.

Teens, don’t give us this “It’s not our fault” stuff. It IS your fault (as well as ours} and it IS your problem.

Gutless? Perhaps YOU aren’t. What are you going to do about It?


Pastor D.H. Emberg, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, December 17, 1963.

These editorials appeared in the January 24 and February 13, 1964 issues of The Ridge Rambler, the student paper:

We’re Angry Too!

“Angry” Pastor Emberg recently made the accusation in The Sun that in Haney students who turn out for school athletic teams are thought of as “squirrels” by other students. In my opinion nothing could be farther from the truth. In our school, at least, students who are members of the teams are among the best liked and respected students in the school. Attendance at games may be poor but this is not because the students of Ridge think high school athletics are squirrely.

Certainly Haney has some problems with its teenagers and these should not be overlooked. However is Haney really any worse than any other Valley town? I don’t think so. I do think that it’s about time constructive steps were taken to solve the problem of irresponsible behavior by teens. Continuous criticism of Haney youth as a whole is not constructive. So far the only result I can see is that Haney is getting the reputation as a centre of juvenile delinquents.

As for high school athletes being called squirrels -- a squirrel is a squirrel. He doesn’t have to join a team to be one.

In recent weeks, our district, and our school, have received a lot of adverse publicity. In my opinion, we do not deserve it. Our school is no worse than any other one in the Valley. But is it any better?

If we wish to disprove the statements of our critics, we must make our school just a little bit better than any other school in the Valley. This cannot be done when students react to criticism by striking back at those who criticize.

Enthusiastic crowds at recent basketball have shown just how they feel about our “squirrely” athletes. Let's keep this up -- perhaps even improve it. Let's have a really good turnout at the social tonight -- and no beer bottles in the washroom. At the assembly next week, let's have a good turnout of open-minded, well-behaved students. We are are-minded and well-behaved, aren't we?

Some members of the community are getting the idea that a large percentage of the students in this school are juvenile delinquents. This just isn't the truth I But perhaps saying that we are lazy is closer to the truth than we would like to admit.

The first editorial above refers to an article in The Vancouver Sun, but the Vancouver Province actually beat The Sun to the punch with the Emberg “controversy”:

(If necessary, click on the articles with your mouse which will increase their size.)

Province, December 13, 1963 - “Pastor lashes adults” – Emberg’s Gazette column attacks “the lack of courage adults show towards teenagers,” and calls teenagers “gutless.”

Province, December 20, 1963 - “Minister’s teen barbs effective” – Emberg continues his attack, prompting local government to get involved in setting up a family court.

Province, December 30, 1963 - “Fiery minister gathers support amid opposition” – “It’s amazing when you turn over a stone, what insects crawl out from under it.” Emberg has received anonymous and abusive telephone calls and messages.

Sun, January 13, 1964 - “Teenage drunks ‘frightening’” (page one story) – “Drunkeness among teenagers is increasing to frightening proportions in Haney.”

Sun, January 17, 1964 - Lengthy opinion column by Jack Scott (no relation to the teacher at MRSS) quotes Scott’s “fishing friend” as saying “Haney’s problem … is no more acute than that of any community.”

Sun, January 21, 1964 - “The Reverend Talks Sports” – On the Sun’s sports page (!), Emberg talks about how he might have had a sporting career, but ended up in the ministry. He rehashes his usual arguments, relating them to the world of athletics, saying that in Maple Ridge, “an athlete is called a ‘squirrel’ here.”

Sun, January 22, 1964 - Jack Scott turns his entire column over to Emberg, who was not happy with Scott’s previous comments on his crusade.

Sun, January 24, 1964 - Jack Scott follows up Emberg’s comments of two days before with an anecdote about some “good kids” in Maple Ridge.

Sun, January 24, 1964 - An interview with teen idol Pat Boone who was in town for a club date, asking him about teenage drinking and mentioning Emberg!

Sun, February 15, 1964 - “Carousing Youth Charges ‘Hit Home’: Haney Pastor Says Citizens Now Discuss Parental Control” -- Followup to what’s happening with Emberg and the “moral rebirth” in Maple Ridge.

Sun, November 10, 1964 - In a column called “Fraser Valley Roundup,” news that Emberg’s wife, who was a teacher at Golden Ears Elementary School has quit her job because her husband got a new posting in Renton, Washington (???).

As mentioned above, Emberg appeared at the school assembly. I remember he entered the gym beside RCMP officer Drysdale, who was dressed in a non-ceremonial uniform. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife; there was a lot of hatred directed towards Emberg and if Drysdale wasn’t present, there would have been major trouble.

The Gazette sent their “cultural” reporter F.J. Arendt to cover the school assembly. I don’t know what this gathering had to do with “culture,” I think Arendt was just there in his capacity as a reporter.

Culturally Speaking


H.H. Hooge. vice-principal of MRSS school was the moderator for a panel discussion, called by inter-school Christian fellowship and the student’s council last Thursday morning at the school.

Attendance was voluntary. Three quarters of the audi-itorium was filled by the student body.


How can adults in the community help to prevent juvenile delinquency?

The Rev. Danny Griffin, ex-councillor of MR, is for a commission on recreation.

It should be different from what it is now. He thought it should be patterned on a fire-department. Help should be given where it is needed and when needed.

The Rev. Emberg backed up his remarks.

He thought it a good idea to proceed with a community centre and arena.

He then shifted his former accusations (teen-agers — parents) of being gutless to the church.

“It’s gutless in too many ways,” he said. “It too often does too little.”

His generalizations and unqualified statements did not seem to fire the enthusiasm of the audience.

The young people still feel the pain he inflicted upon them by his unjust remarks some weeks ago.

Staff Sgt. Drysdale was by far the most realistic and down-to-earth speaker.

He did not circumscribe that fact that there exists a juvenile delinquency problem.

This has been known for thousands of years, will still be known thousands of years hence.

The cardinal point he made was that young people must shift and think for themselves.

Facilities to take care of youth’s activities are here, he thought, but there is lack of sufficient participation by the community at large.

He expressed the opinion that it would be useless to provide more and more facilities at random. If is not used what already is here, why burden the taxpayer further?

Students who took part in the discussion were Wendy Rash, Ruth Leng, Keith Good and Dave Harris. Brian Pendleton, as president of the student’s council, sat with the moderator.


A Teen-age Rally is planned for Saturday, March 29. at 8 p.m. in the Agricultural Hall.

It will be interesting to hear what the young people will propose.

Perhaps it will be shown that youth rebels, as it is its right.

Not against a strict order, but against an excess of freedom.

Youth wants to be challenged and guided.


Those who associate with young people must ask themselves one frank question: Will young people, who have not as yet reached the status of adulthood, afford them joy and satisfaction.

A yes answer stipulates the necessity of learning how to have fellowship with them.

There was also this article in the same issue of The Gazette as these other articles and my column. I suspect this was also written by Arendt.

Students Sponsor Public Meeting

National Education Week will see a continuation — not a repeat performance — of the panel discussion on youth today and where they are going, that began at MRSS assembly Thursday last.

On Tuesday, March 3, beginning at 8 p.m. in the MRSS school auditorium guest panelists giving the adult point of view will be Pastor D. Emberg, RCMP Staff Sgt. P.Q. Drysdale, and former MR councillor Danny Griffin.

Grade 12 and 13 students participating will be Ruth Leng. Wendy Rash, Keith Good and Dave Harris.

Sponsored by the Students’ Council, the panel will have as moderator H.H. Hooge, vice-principal of the school.

In addition to the panel discussion the public meeting will hear Dr. T.T. Thordarson, school trustee, giving data on the March 12 referendum; D.A. Voth, SS school principal, on significant changes in the curriculum, and the school choir under the direction of Mrs. M. Shaw.

All interested citizens in the community, not just parents of students in school, are invited to attend.

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