GROTON — Some people may call her a history buff. Others would describe her as a loyal friend. But, more than anything else, Helen Sawyer is known as a teacher.

In fact, most living Groton natives learned how to read and write from the 99-year-old retired English teacher at one point or another.

The author of such books as The First American Nun and People and Places in Groton still drives a car and won’t go out without her hair done, says Jane Bouvier, the host of the “Around Town” talk show on Groton cable TV. And when Sawyer and her former students run into each other at her favorite hangout, Johnson’s Drive-in, they might talk about what school was like back then, how families lived and how she dealt with their naughtiness.

“It’s that type of thing we are trying to capture,” said Donald Black, who had Sawyer as a teacher in seventh grade. Black is working on a project to film interviews with Sawyer and many other long-timers in town, to record Groton’s history. The goal is to document “how you served your town, your country and mankind in general,” he said.

Black and Bouvier are teaming up to create a series of video profiles of Groton residents who have lived in town for 65 years or more. Unlike a regular documentary film, the videos won’t have a story line. Rather, they will be a collection of tapes, each featuring an individual’s life story. The videos will be also part of the town diary.

The project is intended to provide historical references that will be helpful to future generations in understanding Groton’s past, according to Black. With a grant from Groton Trust Fund to make a pilot, Black and Bouvier have begun interviewing the first few subjects. Sawyer is the first, followed by her brother-in-law, Alvine Sawyer — a painter and the original organizer of the Groton Little League — and former tax assessor Edward Kopec, who worked as a mailman.

“He knew who everybody was and where they lived,” Black said of Kopec.

Black, a 58-year-old Groton Park Commissioner, came up with the idea for the video project while picking up his father from a veterans’ breakfast. Looking over local seniors who served in wars, Black felt an urge to preserve their experiences and memories before it’s too late. He then solicited help from Bouvier, who is known for her ability to put people at ease on camera.

Both Bouvier and Black believe this former farm community has provided homes to intriguing characters since its settlement in 1655.

When 18th President Ulysses S. Grant visited Boston during his term, between 1869 and 1877, then-governor George Boutwell from Groton brought the president to the town on a train that ran along what is now the Nashua River Rail Trail, Black said. Black’s great-great-grandfather played clarinet as part of the town band that welcomed the president.

Black hopes to document Groton natives with various backgrounds — from the prominent to ordinary citizens — and create separate videos on the people after whom town commons and squares are named. He said he wants to put faces to the names. The list of potential interviewees is growing by the minute.

Those interested in becoming part of the videos are encouraged to contact Park Commission at 978-448-1173. , Hiroko Sato may be reached at