DARIEN — Little known fact: waiting to use power until after 8 o’clock at night helps minimize the use of fossil fuels and saves energy in Connecticut.

Middlesex Middle School eighth-graders William Harper and Ryan Blatney, however, are working to change that to a well-known fact instead.

The two won Energize Connecticut’s annual eesmarts student awards, which required eighth-graders to to write a public service announcement on the benefits of waiting until 8 p.m. to use electricity. Harper took first place and Blatney came in second.

On June 2, the boys, along with 43 other student winners from different grades and 22 districts across the state, got to visit the state Capitol for a ceremony honoring their achievement. Energize Connecticut also went to Middlesex to help the boys record a voice-over for their PSA.

Kelly Depiano, the boys’ science teacher, said she was hoping to see Darien students win after a Darien student came in second in the contest last year.

“We were going for first, second and third and we got first and second,” she said. “I challenged them, ‘Let’s go for it again.’ It kind of coincides with Earth Day, so I thought it’d be a great way to look at how we use energy.”

All of the students in Depiano’s class submitted to the contest, using information from the Energize Connecticut website to write their announcements.

“It’s kind of like an infomercial,” Harper explained.

The students worked on the campaigns in class, using information from their energy unit and BrainPOP online learning videos. They also peer reviewed each others’ PSAs in class.

“They could see each others’ work,” said Depiano. “We talked about what should be in the ad.”

In general, the students tried to focus on what the “Wait ‘Til 8” movement is and why it’s important. The announcement also had to be read in 30 seconds, which was a real challenge.

“First it was too short, then it was too long,” Blatney said. “We brought stopwatches.”

Ultimately, the boy’s hard work paid off.

“To enter a contest, win a prize and get on the state representative floor is a big deal,” Depiano said. “I’m happy they won.”

The boys also enjoyed their trip to Hartford.

“It was a fun experience,” Blatney said. “We got to see the capitol building.”

“I thought it was cool seeing different contests for all grades,” Hartley added.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata