HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Politics can be an interesting subject for most adults.
But for some Hawaii high school students, it’s their favorite subject.
In the aftermath of the general election, those students shared their passion for politics and encouraged others to vote.
At Mililani High School, heated — but civil — debates are part of the classroom curriculum.
“I love debating against my classmates because it gives me a different perspective that I never thought about,” MHS senior Micah Domingo said.
He is one of many students in Jason Duncan’s AP Government and Politics class. Duncan teaches students about democracy, the functions of government, and the effects of politics.
Debates are her way of building classroom lessons into real-life topics without the heated disagreements or anger often seen among adults.
“We don’t see these things in the classroom … because we set the standard for culture. However, children naturally do this on their own. They respect each other’s opinion. They have a wide range of opinions,” Duncan said.
Another of her students, senior Josslyn Rose, recently turned 18 and is running for the first time.
She also sits on the school’s ASMHS student council and is no stranger to campaigning and recruitment.
“We are very influenced by the policies that our representatives make and we can be very educated that there are different ways – you can do your own research, but only from what we learn in school – it is very important and every vote counts,” Rose said.
Students also learn about special interest group influence and bipartisanship. Most of them support the expansion of political parties.
“More ideas mean more solutions,” Domingo said. “Most of the politics you see today is just the left and the right beating each other up, and that certainly distracts us from the big issues we face as a nation, both at home and abroad.”
Senior Fellow Kinan Yoshizawa added, “The current two-party system makes it too easy to divide people and makes politics look black and white when in reality there is a very large gray area.”
At Farrington High School, students learn not only about government, but how to interact with it.
“Government won’t hear what you’re trying to do if you’re silent,” said Jeff Martinson, a teacher of participation in democracy.
“Not just young people, everyone should be encouraged to vote, and this is one way to start it at an early age to increase our voter turnout in Hawaii.”
Teachers say that while not every student wants to go into politics after high school, it’s really about the lessons they can apply in real life.
“I think there is power with knowledge, and when they leave the course, they will feel equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to make a difference,” Duncan said.
“It’s important not to follow what others say and form your own opinion, especially in today’s world where we can easily be influenced by the media. It is very important that you form your own opinion about the subjects that you are interested in,” said Domingo.
Some schools participate Children’s voting a program that allows young people to cast fraudulent votes during election season.
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