By John Ramos

REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — It can be hard to get teenagers excited about politics, especially when most of them cant vote. But one creative Redwood City high school teacher has found a way to put the “party” in political party.

45 years after 18-year-olds in the United States were given the right to vote, some might question what have they done with it.

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“What I’ve learned is that the youth are terrible at voting,” said Sequoia High senior Kyle Johnson. “And I just hope that we learn to vote more because we DO hold the power in our government. ”

That has become the mission of Ashley Gray.  He teaches American government classes to seniors at Sequoia High School in Redwood City.

“I value their voice,” said Gray. “I think their voice is important. Their opinions are important. And at 18, I think they should be sharing them.”

In his classroom filled with images of civil rights freedom fighters, he works hard to get his students interested in politics, even if it means thinking outside the books.

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“In here, we don’t even use a textbook,” Sequoia High senior Emily Calderaro. “We just learn about current events and how that relates to how, like, the Constitution was written.”

On Wednesday, his students were each researching one of the propositions on the ballot with the goal of learning not just what it says, but what its impact may be.

But Gray also wants young people to act, so he is creating a sort of political “Hall of Fame” where kids who become active in the election will get their names posted in a showcase along with some other incentives.

“A certificate signed by their government teacher and principal, and we’ll throw ‘em a pizza party as well!” Gray said with a laughs. “[Were] not buying votes, we’re encouraging political participation!”

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Gray told KPIX 5 he got his passion for politics after taking a trip to the Deep South and learning about the struggles African Americans had to secure their right to vote.