Siena Ignacio, a third-grade student at Marengo Ranch Elementary School, placed second for her age group in the 2019 Fight the Bite Contest hosted annually by the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District.

The goal of the Fight the Bite Contest is to promote creativity and help make kids aware of how they can protect themselves from mosquitos. Entries are separated into three age groups: kindergarten to third grade, fourth grade to sixth grade, and seventh grade to 12th grade. First through third place winners of each age group are awarded a monetary sum based on how they placed.

Ignacio created a poster that showed a mosquito’s nightmare: the mosquito lay in bed, unable to fall asleep at night because it was afraid of all the techniques the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District use to control mosquito populations and prevent bites.

“I thought about what the mosquitos were afraid of and what would make them get rid of them,” Ignacio said of the inspiration behind her design.

“It was totally on her own,” said Seronika Ignacio, Siena’s mother. “When we were correcting the words, I asked my husband ‘did you know about this?’ And, nope, it was just her thing. She just decided a mosquito should have a nightmare … She’s really creative that way.”

According to Ignacio, she was excited when she first heard that she had placed second in the contest, and her friends at school were surprised because they didn’t know she had entered.

“She didn’t go into this thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this so I can win.’ She had a great idea, put it on paper, and it turned out really well for her,” said Marengo Ranch principal Jennifer Porter. “I love to see the kids explore and try different things.”

Ignacio’s older brother Seth placed first in the contest several years ago, and the siblings have been entering this and several similar art contests ever since then. Even though Ignacio’s poster wasn’t a class project, her second-place design earned $200 for her classroom and a $100 personal prize.

“I believe they spent it on classroom supplies this year,” Porter said. “We wanted to make sure it was spent this year with her class.”

As for the prize money she was able to keep, Ignacio decided to save it for an upcoming family vacation over the summer.