San Nicolas, Pascual top Pacifica art contest


The piece entered in 2014 by Mikaela San Nicolas of Kagman High School won Category 2 of the 2020 Pacifica Art Contest. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

Mikaela San Nicolas and Erika Pascual were named yesterday as this year’s winners of the Pacifica Art Contest, which is hosted by Pacifica Insurance Underwriters Inc.

Pascual secured the top spot in Category 1 (age division 6-11 years old) , while San Nicholas won first place in Category 2 (age division 12-17 years old)

Pacifica’s approach to this year’s contest was different given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of holding a full-fledged contest, which normally involved the active involvement of students, school administrators, teachers and contest coordinators, the company decided to revisit top entries dating back to 2014.

With over 1,500 entries to date since the establishment of Pacifica Art Contest, the company dedicated this year to all artists who took part in previous years’ annual contests by giving them another chance at winning.

A former student of Kagman High School, Mikaela San Nicolas was only 16 years old when she submitted the winning art piece in 2014. Pascual, who was then a student of Hopwood Jr High School, was only 11 years old when she submitted her winning art piece back in 2017.

There were two rounds of judging this year to determine the final outcomes. A total of 60 pieces went through the first round. The second round of judging came down to the Top 20, which were pieces submitted by Seo Hee, Lee; Seon I Park; Noah Lee; Victor Castro; Seiyul Hong; Jing Lin; Seok Hun Lee; Kathy He; Ji Hye Jeon; Adrien Ocampo; Mar Joelviloria; Nakia Reyes; Maureen Doculan; Maryn Trianni; Serin Chung; Hee Jeong Kim; Cerijean Mangubat; Pascual; Marjorie Agana; and San Nicolas

This year’s judging panel included J.C. Tenorio Ent., Inc. corporate projects manager Somia Quan, Marianas Variety sports reporter James Sablan, and our 2019 Miss NMI Earth Leisha Deleon Guerrero.

The piece entered in 2017 by Erika Pascual of Hopwood Junior High School won Category 1 of the 2020 Pacifica Art Contest.

“It was nice to see artwork from students of different ages and their unique approach on the themes.” said Sablan. “You could tell how many different styles were used, from colored pencils to crayons and paint. You could see the fun they had creating these masterpieces.”

“It was an honor to judge the many wonderful artwork submissions. The talent we have in the CNMI is so inspiring for the future. I think using submissions from the previous years was a great idea as it shows how businesses and people in our island community have had to adjust and adapt to keep traditions alive in the ever changing environment of a global pandemic,” said Quan.

On Deleon Guerrero’s part, she said that being a part of the art contest “was absolutely an honor and a blessing. While examining each art piece created with such vibrancy, meaning, technique, and hard work, I realized how incredibly gifted our islands are with such young passionate artists. Despite our current situation, we were able to celebrate the talent and creativity within the Marianas. I believe that going forth with this year’s art contest was made significant because it allowed us to look past the negative aspects of this global pandemic and recognize these young artists within our community. This event is not only a contest but highlights our unity in such circumstances, serving as a reminder about the true meaning of Christmas. I hope that we continue to lift and support one another, especially in these challenging times, and that everyone sees the beauty in each masterpiece created by these artists as I did.”

The judging was executed electronically to ensure everyone safely distanced and avoided unnecessary commute, although all pieces will be made available at Pacifica’s office in Susupe for personal viewing throughout the holiday season.

“The challenges we, as a community, continue to face during this pandemic has been the driving force behind this year’s art contest,” said Pacifica president Shirley Sablan. “There is no better time than now to further encourage collaboration, boost strength and ignite hope. The art pieces that came out of our art contest was intended for this very purpose. It was designed to help spark that glimmer of hope and to also remind us to ‘rest assured’ as everything ultimately works out in our favor, if given the chance.”.

Sablan thanked all artists, school administrators and teachers, judges, and contest coordinators for taking part in what she considers years of extremely successful contest events.

Art pieces were judged based on creativity and originality, quality of art piece, clarity of theme, and presentation.

This year’s Top 20 pieces can be accessed electronically on and all major company social media pages.

To add to the excitement, and for the first time ever, top placing artists from this year’s contest will be featured on Pacifica Reacts, a reaction video produced by Julia Espino and Riane Capalad. Details about this video can be found on Pacifica’s social media pages and the full video on

For more information about Pacifica Art Contest, email Pacifica Insurance at or visit their office in Susupe, Saipan during normal business hours Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. (PR)

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