The Grand Finale of both the Action for Peace Talent Show and the Voices of Hope Poetry Slam Contest was held as part of Guam’s 12th Annual Latte Peace Festival, on January 20.

This eventful evening was the result of a collaborative effort among the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Mayor’s office, the Sinajana Mayor’s Office, Agana Shopping Center, the Guam Museum, the Guam Council of the Arts & Humanities Agency (CAHA), the Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra (TBYO), the Guam Philharmonic Foundation, Soka University of America, SGI Guam, and the International Committee for Artists for Peace (ICAP).


Melvin Won Pat-Borja, an esteemed spoken-word poet, slam poet, hip hop artist, teacher, and president of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, presided as the master of ceremonies. Mr. Pat-Borja welcomed guests and the contest finalists – three from the November 22 Action for Peace Talent Show, and three from the December 13 Voices of Hope Poetry Slam. He shared the exciting news that the Grand Prize winner would be honored with a special congratulatory award, hand-signed by world-class jazz artist and ICAP president Herbie Hancock. Additionally, the winner would receive a $500 donation to their school.

Prior to the competition, attendees were treated to an inspiring video message from Mr. Hancock, emphasizing Guam’s role in the global movement for peace through art.

Mr. Pat-Borja then introduced the esteemed panel of judges:

Sarah Nededog: A dedicated community advocate, especially for women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Carlos Pangelinan: Chief Human Services Administrator, Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Isiah Aguon: Director of Communications for Guam Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas.
Joanne Matanane: L.P. Untalan Middle School Band Director, electives division leader.
Trevan Atoigue: A student at John F. Kennedy High School, and member of the Guam Youth Congress representing Tamuning.


After that, all six finalists from the talent show and poetry slam competition showcased their winning performances.

The SGI Guam Isa Chorus, joined by youth members of their organization, delivered a captivating performance of “Kutturat-Ta.” A specially crafted Japanese Bon Dance for Guam – “Guam-Toh-Ondo,” featuring lyrics composed by Guam resident Yuji Katagiri – engaged the audience.


Following the dance performance, ICAP’s Certificate of Appreciation was presented to the Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra (TBYO). Mayor Louise C. Rivera (Municipality of Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon) presented the certificate to TBYO conductor Maximo Ronquillo, who graciously accepted it on behalf of the Orchestra. It reads:

This certificate is proudly awarded to the Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra in appreciation of your invaluable services and commitment to fostering peace through music at the LATTE PEACE FESTIVAL on January 20, 2024. Your dedication, creative brilliance, and artistic achievements have left a significant impact on the people of Guam. We wish you continued success in all your artistic endeavors in the future.

Herbie Hancock, ICAP President

Next, showing support for their beloved conductor, TBYO’s brass quintet and drummer graced the stage with a remarkable performance.

Mayor Rivera then announced the grand finale winners: Mikayla Santos from The Rising Bulldogs, Okkodo High School, was selected the winner of the Action for Peace Talent Show; and Nikolette Salas from Tiyan High School, the winner of the Voices of Hope Poetry Slam Competition.


In her closing remarks, Mayor Rivera extended congratulations to the winners and all the other contestants, acknowledging their significant contributions to promoting peace and diversity. She thanked them for “enriching our local community with your wide-ranging display of talents that served as ambassadors for your hearts, and with your beautiful words that show us how the art of poetry can bridge divides and strengthen our shared sense of global community.”


 The following are the texts of two poems by Nikolette Salas, winner of the Voices of Hope Poetry Slam Competition from Tiyan High School, and two poems by Madison Lujan, the second-place winner of the same Competition also from Tiyan High School.

 1st round poem by Nikolette Salas

To My First and Last
He’s like the first piece of the puzzle, and she is the last.
He’s the feeling of chaos when you don’t have it figured out yet.
She’s the last piece that just doesn’t fit,
She’s a piece of unique brilliance.

They’ve never fit with the rest,
As their loving sister,
I will always protest
That no one even knows what we deal with
We’ve endured more than you noticed
More volcanoes and tornadoes than you did.

Abnormal sense of humor always makes me laugh,
Unlike anyone, there isn’t many like them.
There is a small percent, who were left and betrayed
In this world, they are looked down on like

A pack of strays.
So much hate is put against their names
Too many people always turn away.
In their minds, my family takes them by surprise
My siblings don’t need your pity or your puppy eyes.

They don’t know much of peace,
They don’t think like you and me.
They cant understand when you call your bluff

And can’t help that
They dont understand you’ve had enough
To the unique puzzles pieces,
To my first and last,
I’ll make an impact so you can live a life thats a blast.


2nd round poem by Nikolette Salas

Doubts From A Child

I don’t expect us to last,
You weren’t there when I was a bumble bee
Flying past.
You didn’t exist when my life
Went by in a flash.

And I don’t expect your presence to last.
I won’t put you first, but you won’t be last,
A part of me believes in our present becoming our future and today being our past.

That word seems so sour,
I’ve said it too many times
Only to be left with
Burnt ends and loose ties
And I don’t have the right rhymes to make it clear but hear I go and try
I do not expect you to stay in my life.

You’ve been there through raindrops
When my friends have seen storms
My faith in you will diminish
The second I see you eye the door.

So I’ll cue the music and set your stage,
After you bow, you can walk away.
In the book, I’ll kill off your name,
So you can be another speck of sand
In time’s remains.

I’ll give you the benefit of doubt,
Afterall, my intrusive thoughts wrote these lines.
The “what ifs” stacked up and toppled
Leaving me with a slightly shallow heart,
But a clear open mind.

I will accept our fate, turning a blind eye
Hoping you will not leave my side.
So if you stay, I’ll go insane,
But if you do, I’ll immortalize your name.

1st round poem by Madison Lujan


As a Chamorro girl I am peaceful
And friendly
So are other Chamorros
On Guam, we nurture diversity

Our blood is not the same but it is red
Color does not divide
Ethnicity can’t keep us apart
Neither can religion

As a proud catholic I love everyone
With my heart
For Jesus told me himself to love
My neighbor as I love myself

So I’ll love you just so or more
As friends, siblings, or locals

We may have different colored
Skin or eyes,
But we feel the same heat and cold
We see the same things put in front of us
We bleed the same color

The only thing you may not see
that I see through my own eyes
Is a sunny future


2nd round poem by Madison Lujan


This poem is dedicated to my papa

You are the diamond of my heart
Apple of my eye
You outshine everyone in my soul
You are my soulmate and twin flame
My best friend

Even though you are not on Guamrn,
Our spirits are always together
I’m with you
You are with me

I remember when I was little,
You would always care for me
And rescue me when I was in trouble
tye my shoe
make me food
and clean up after me

you always believed in me
As I get older, I continue to
Appreciate you and everything you do

My soulmate
Twin flame
And best friend
My papa

I love you, Papa