NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The 23rd annual Nacogdoches County's Opportunity for Better Learning Experience banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 17, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center at Stephen F. Austin State University.

More than 250 students were invited to attend this year's banquet, which will honor Nacogdoches County high school seniors who chose a more rigorous recommended or distinguished program of study in their high school courses and completed a service project.

Students will receive a custom NOBLE Scholar medallion to wear at graduation, as well as a certificate honoring their achievement. NIBCO has generously sponsored the medallions again this year.

"We are fortunate to have the support and sponsorship of NIBCO," said Rachel Clark, editorial coordinator in the Office of University Marketing Communications at SFA and event co-chair. "Sponsors help make the NOBLE banquet possible each year, and I appreciate the Nacogdoches business community for recognizing and rewarding the county's hard-working scholars."

A parent's reception also will be held in Regents' Suite A and B starting at 6:30 p.m. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served, and there will be drawings for prizes. SFA representatives will be available to provide information about the admission process. Parents will then join the students at 7:30 p.m. for the medallion presentation and a keynote address by Dr. Jeana Paul-Ureña, chair and associate professor of the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication at SFA.

Nacogdoches County NOBLE scholars are eligible to apply for one of 20 $1,000 scholarships to SFA provided by Citizens 1st Bank and the Daily Sentinel. Fairchild, Price, Haley & Smith also are providing one $1,000 scholarship. Scholarship applications will be available to the students from area high school counselors, as well as at the banquet.

NOBLE is a program of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce education committee, as well as the local business community. The chamber's education committee also sponsors Great Expectations, a program that brings local business leaders to county schools to encourage students to take advanced courses, which will better prepare them for the workplace and life. The education committee includes school counselors and administrators, SFA faculty and staff members, and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the banquet, call the chamber at (936) 560-5533 or visit