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Students promote political awareness

About 50 people were registered to vote at the recent Maui Fair, thanks to efforts by a St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School senior who hopes to engage youths in politics as part of his senior project.

“The main goal of the project is to promote political awareness, excitement and participation across Maui,” said 17-year-old Micah Leval of Wailuku. “Politics doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be someone sitting at a desk reading from a textbook.”

For his senior project, he created a group called Hawaii Youth Political Exploration, or HYPE.

Leval and other St. Anthony students worked with Maui County to register voters at the county tent during the fair, targeting other teenagers, who can pre-register to vote starting at age 16. One problem was that some students didn’t know their Social Security numbers, a requirement for registering.

The voter registration was a small part of Leval’s project, which also involves developing an educational curriculum to test students’ political knowledge.

Leval said this is the first year St. Anthony has implemented a full-fledged senior project program.