The 79th Annual Alice Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held on Thursday, April 7 at the Knights of Columbus Hall to honor the community leaders and businesses for their contributions.

Twenty-one Alice High School students were nominated for their chance to be 2015 Junior Citizen of the Year. The four-step process selected the five finalists.

The Junior Citizen Award rewards a student that has demonstrated exceptional interest, understanding and involvement in citizenship and community activities. Students are selected by teachers and counselors and the students  write an essay on a selected topic.

The five finalists were Meagan Blair, Levi Lopez, Sydney Priddy, Jayme Reyna and Alexandra Saldivar.

Other nominees were Esbardo Alaniz, Joslin Benavidez, Pooja Bhakta, Shivam Desai Desai, Alainya Eberhard, Hailey Farias, Franchesca Franki, Lauren Garcia, Ariana Gomez, Christian Kocian, Charles Lemon, Jose A. Perez, Tiffany Ramon, Rudy Rodriguez, Benajimin Salinas and Victoria Vicente.

This year's essay topic was:

Technology is making communication easier in today's world, but at the expense of personal contact as many people choose to work at home in front of a computer screen. What dangers are there for a society which depends on computer screens rather than face-to-face contact for its main means of communication?

During the banquet, awards will be presented such as the Ambassador Award and the Lowell Hunt Alice Newspapers, Inc. Award.

The 2015 Small Employer Excellence Award nominees are Alice Cash & Carry, United Connections Counseling, Jasso Insurance and Edwards Furniture.

The 2015 Large Employer Excellence Award Nominees are Brite Star, Dairy Burger, Lacks, Meridian Care of Alice and PlainsCapital Bank.

The Distinguished Citizens Hall of Honor 2015 Honorees are Dr. Bandeira Texieria and Rev. Tom Turner.

Employer of the Year 2015 Nominees are Advanced Dental Care, Alice Pediatrics, CHRISTUS Spohn Alice and Silver Star Foods.

The Alice Chamber of Commerce will be recognizing 15 businesses who have been operating since the 1970s and continue to thrive today. Those businesses are:

A1 Quality Fence of Alice (1971), Alice Cash & Carry (1977), Alice Echo-News Journal (1894), Alice Paint & Decorating (1977), Alice Pediatrics (1972), Bealls (1973), Charmed Delight (1965), Community Action Corporation of South Texas (1971), Dixie Iron Works (1933), Edwards Furniture (1962), FESCO, Ltd. (1949), Jasso Insurance (1962), Rushing and Gonzalez (1966), State Farm – Raul Ramirez (1978) and Surplus Outlet (1964).

5 Finalists:

Meagan Blair, daughter of Jimmy and Elizabeth Blair. School related activities: National Honor Society President, Drama Club, Varsity Theater, One Act Play, Alice High School Thespians, PALS, Student Council. Community Service: West Main Baptist Church Volunteer, Saenz Elementary Volunteer, TOTS Drama Club Event, NHS Balloon Release for Domestic Violence Awareness. Levi Lopez, son of Louie and Linda Lopez. School related activities: National Honor Society, Varsity Football Captain, Business Professionals of America, UIL Number Sense and Math, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Top 20 Scholar, BPA State Qualifier, Sr. Homecoming Duke, George Draper Award, Second Team All State Academic Team. Community Services: Altar Server St. Joseph Church, Knights of Columbus – serving food and drinks to special need, escort for style show. Sydney Priddy, daughter of Andy and Missy Priddy. School related activities: National Honor AHS Marching Band, Color Guard, Varsity Cheerleader, HOSA, National Hispanic Scholar, Coyote Scholar. Community Services: St. Elizabeth A.C.T.S. Retreat Team, Altar Server Captain, Christmas Caroling at Nursing Home, Alice Community Thanksgiving Dinner Volunteer, AHS College Fair. Jayme Reyna, daughter of Reynaldo Reyna and Lola Dorsett. School Related Activities: National Honor Society President, AHS Marching Band, Honors Band, Environmental Club President, Lady Coyote Volleyball and Soccer Teams, HOSA President, Four Year Coyote Scholar, All A's Honor Roll. Community Services: St. Elizabeth of Hungary Teen A.C.T.S. Retreat member, AHS Band BBQ, Nursing Home Volunteer, NHS Community Service hours (20). Alexandra Saldivar, daughter of Maggie Saldivar. School Related Activities: National Honor Society Marching Band, Concert Band, Color Guard, Drama Club, One Act Play, National Thespian Society, B.P.A. Secretary, PALS, Leo's Club. Community Services: Delivered Valentines to Nursing Home residents, Easter Egg Hunt for special needs children, Special Olympics volunteer, Community Thanksgiving volunteer, Lion's Club Cook-off volunteer. Junior Citizen of the Year Nominees:

Esbardo Alaniz - Honor and Awards: Top 20 “Coyote Scholar”, Alice Echo News Journal “Teen of the Week”, Coastal Bend College's Dean List, Accepted into McCombs School of Business at University of Texas Austin Joslin Benavidez – Honor and Awards: Certified Nursing Aide, Certified in CPR, National Honor Society, Alice Echo News Journal “Teen of the Week”, Texas Scholar Pooja Bhakta – Honor and Awards: Historian for Drama Club, Thespian President of the Thespian Society Troupe 5191, National Honor Society Shivam Desai Desai – Honor and Awards: Certified Nursing Assistant, State Champion Academic Decathlon, Coyote Scholar, National Honor Society Alainya Eberhard – Honor and Awards: Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society, National History Day District and Region Hailey Farias – Honor and Awards: Thespian Troupe 5191, Future Farmers of America, Coyote Scholar, National Honor Society Franchesca Franki – Honor and Awards: Honors Band, National Honor Society, Coyote Scholar, Presidential Scholarship Lauren Garcia – Honor and Awards: Certified Nursing Assistant, Coyote Top 20 Scholar, National Honor Society, PALS, Future Farmers of America Ariana Gomez – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, PALS, Cross Country All-State Academic, TAFE Christian Kocian – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, Coyote Top 20 Scholar, OSHA Certified Charles Lemon – Honor and Awards: Academic Decathlon, Academic Octathlon, National Honor Society, Duke University TIP Scholar, Coyote Top 20 Scholar, All-District All-Academic Athlete Jose A. Perez – Honor and Awards: Academic Decathlon, Academic Octathlon, National Honor Society, Debate Team Tiffany Ramon – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, All District Band, Academic Octathlon, PALS Rudy Rodriguez – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, Coyote Top 20 Scholar, Alice High School Honors Band Benjamin Salinas – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, International Thespian Society, “Best Techie” Award Solo and Ensemble Performance Victoria Vicente – Honor and Awards: National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America, Environmental Club, Volleyball Most Valuable Player and Fighting Heart Award Winners will be announced at the banquet on Thursday. The mixer begins at 6:15 p.m. with the dinner and program at 7 p.m.