HAWAIIAN GARDENS (CBSLA)   — Three middle class students in Hawaiian Gardens are working on a documentary about the Iran hostage crisis and the Middle East.

The seventh graders at Fedde Academy had some questions for former President Jimmy Carter. What to do? They checked resource books, and finally figured why not just write him a letter?

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They did. To their surprise, Jo Kwon reports, he wrote back.

The documentary is for the upcoming LA County History Day Competition.

History teacher Chad Laines said the boys’ thesis blew him away.

“If Jimmy Carter would have been elected to a second term of office, then perhaps he could have negotiated Middle East peace,” Laines said describing their belief.

“And maybe we wouldn’t have all the problems we have today with the Middle East,” said Jaciel Lira.

Jaciel and his classmates Armaan Ahmed and Kevin Bracamontes looked through books, Wikipedia, you name it.

“We couldn’t find enough resources,” said Armaan.

The 12-year-olds wrote Carter.

“Literally, the ultimate source,” said Jaciel.

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They mailed him a letter in mid-November and waited for a response.

Two months later, a reply came. Their teacher was so excited, he opened the letter.

“I wanted the kids to open it, but I couldn’t help myself,” Laines said.

He did share the letter right away. Inside the letter, their letter, Carter wrote three answers back.

‘He actually, like, wrote on our letter,” says Armaan.

He even included a personal note.

“I was, like, shocked,” Armaan said.

And Kevin said the letter is, of course, going in their documentary.

“I think it gives us a huge edge over the competition,” he said.

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An edge the team hopes will get them to the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., in June.