RALEIGH — Last week, on the opening day of the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers put one issue on fast track: a proposal to allow the state pay compensation to victim’s of its former eugenics program.

Up in the galley on that opening day, were four students from Carnage Middle School in Raleigh.

These students have a special interest in this legislation.

The 8th graders recently won a the state title in a National History Day contest for their documentary on eugenics. They will now represent North Carolina in the national competition next month.

“I thought how could the government have so much power?” said Raaj Pyada, one of the 8th graders. “That they would just pick one person and then sterilize them.”

Throughout the process of making "Eugenics: North Carolina’s Emerging Secrets," these students said they learned a lot about this practice, which continued through the 1970s.

“What shocked me the most wasn’t the sterilization in America,” said student Viraj Rapolu, “was that Hitler, when he incorporated it, he sterilized over 400,000 people and somebody said ‘The Germans are beating us at our own game’.”

These students are now watching government in action, as legislators work to right this wrong.

“They really want the Democrats and Republicans to combine, which they are doing,” said student Nimit Desai, “and they really want to educate people about it.”

For these kids, they said they hope this whole process sheds some light on what forced sterilization meant for the victims and the state.

“So we don’t make the same mistakes in the future,” said student Justin Mott. “We learn from our mistakes.”

For lawmakers, they said it has been a long 10 years to get to the point where they can begin the debate on this proposal.

There will be a public hearing at the Legislative Building on Tuesday. It is set to begin around 2 p.m.