LONDONDERRY | A group of local students will have a chance to make history, while also helping to teach it to eighth-graders across the state.

The New Hampshire Political Library is partnering with the Londonderry school district to create a 30-minute video and three classroom lesson plans called "The Primary Experience: Tomorrow's Voters Document The New Hampshire Primary." The project is being funded through a $9,962 "Save Our History" grant from The History Channel.

The DVD will be created between October 2007 and May 2008 by students in the Political Action Club mentored by Londonderry Middle School social studies teachers Bob MacLellan and Andy Brown.

"We are going to make this fun," MacLellan said after a press conference announcing the grant at the middle school yesterday. "It won't be just a bunch of talking heads. It will have to grab the students' attention."

The political club, run by MacLellan, is now in its third year at the middle school. Current club members and alumni who are now at Londonderry High School will participate in the project.

"It's great to get kids interested in the political process at a young age," MacLellan said. "I've been knocking on doors since I was 18. I was a delegate for Kerry in 2004. My uncle was one for McCarthy in 1968, and my grandfather for FDR in 1944."

In December 2006, MacLellan invited Lori Fisher, the New Hampshire Political Library's director of programs and collections, to speak to club members. She gave a presentation on the presidential primary, showing cartoons, buttons and bumper stickers from past presidential campaigns. Then in January, the students made a field trip to the library.

Fisher was so impressed by their interest that she encouraged the Londonderry school district to apply with the library for The History Channel grant.

The political library is one of just 27 organizations nationwide that received a "Save Our History" community preservation grant.

"We have a great grass-roots opportunity to put together a product to help teachers and students around the state," New Hampshire Political Library President and CEO Michael Chaney said at yesterday's event.

The recently revised New Hampshire social studies framework requires eighth-graders to study the state's presidential primary as one of its benchmarks beginning next fall. The DVD and lesson plans, once completed, will be distributed to all 157 middle and high-school libraries across the state.

Members of the political club said they are looking forward to participating in this unique opportunity.

"So far, this is the most exciting thing we've done," eighth-grader Zach Capobianco said.

Zach, 13, said he has his own life "sort of mapped out." He plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and double major in political science and law.

"A lot of presidential candidates have law degrees," he said.

One of the club's members, Tommy Parilla, designed T-shirts to be worn during the activities planned for documentation.

MacLellan said one-third of the DVD will be about the history of the primary.

"We'll also visit spots like Robie's Country Store in Hooksett, where many candidates visit," he said. "We'll visit candidates' offices in Manchester and film voting day in Londonderry."

Students also will share their experiences and knowledge about the primary with three other schools in the state through Web conferencing.

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