by Leah Jackson

Caroline Shepherd of Frisco, Texas, is the 2022 recipient of the Lisa Chesser Borders Endowed Scholarship and Meraki Award, established in 2019 by Natchitoches artist James Borders to honor his late wife. Shepherd is a senior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University and will graduate in May with a 4.0 grade point average.

The scholarship presentation took place April 22 in the Lisa Chesser Borders Permanent Student Art Collection gallery in the Academic Success Center, located on the first floor of Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library.  The space features a permanent exhibit of student artwork.

Shepherd is a digital media illustrator who originally planned to pursue music education as a career but changed to art education with a minor in music.  Following graduation in May, she will pursue a Master of Arts in NSU’s graduate program and intends to continue developing skills as a digital illustrator while teaching.

“I’m super grateful to everyone and to Mr. Borders for considering me,” Shepherd said, adding that she has witnessed Borders’ work ethic and “hopes to work to the level that he would expect.”

Twins Hunter and Halston Rachal of Elmer also received awards. They are senior art students who will graduate in December and were presented with the Avis Borders Fletcher and Margaret Pauline Chesser Awards, which Borders established to honor both his and his late wife’s mother. In addition to a cash prize, award winners received signed framed prints depicting a sculpture titled “Faith” that Borders created at Trinity Baptist Church in memory of Lisa.

Later in the day, mixed media work by Hunter and Halston Rachal was exhibited as part of the Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival, a juried show at First United Methodist Church in Alexandria that will be on display through May 1.

James Borders explained “meraki” as the concept of putting one’s “soul, creativity and part of themselves into their work.” Those qualities, he said exemplify the spirit of this late wife, Lisa Chesser Borders, lost her battle with cancer in 2018 at age 49. 

The Lisa Chesser Borders Student Art Collection Gallery is located on the first floor of NSU’s Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. 

Information on NSU’s Department of Fine and Graphic Art is available at

Art Scholarship Winners Pictured:
Natchitoches artist James Borders presented scholarships and awards to three NSU students April 25.  Caroline Shepherd is the 2022 recipient of the Lisa Chesser Borders Endowed Scholarship and Meraki Award and Hunter and Halston Rachal were recipients of Avis Borders Fletcher and Margaret Pauline Chesser Awards.  From left are Caroline Shepherd, James Borders and Hunter and Halston Rachal.

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