Two All-American Girls Greet Their New Home Away from Home    added: 2012-09-14

When Isabel Cacho and Jandi Heagen met at the John Jay Institute this past Spring, they never imagined that their academic residency at the Bala Mansion in Philadelphia would bring them to a chateau in Ivanka pri Dunaji, Slovakia.  But, God had another plan.  Drawn from almost opposite ends of the country, the two were brought together from California and Ohio respectively in response to a call to serve Christ in the public sphere.  This call of service came in the form of interning with the Kolegium Anton Neuwirth. 

Jandi Heagen hails from the heart of the midwest. She was born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio, but called Tennessee home during her college years. She attended Bryan College, a Christian liberal arts university, where in May 2011, she graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Government with minors in Spanish and Communications Studies. She then made her way to the City of Brotherly Love to delve into studies of the rich heritage of the Western tradition at the John Jay Institute. She aspires to a career in international affairs in which she can apply what she learned in college and at John Jay about virtue, the good life, and that which is necessary for a flourishing society, in the public square, both domestically and abroad. She looks forward to the opportunity and blessing to serve God in her capacity as an intern with KAN and is excited for what this semester promises to bring. Jandi offers,

My time at the John Jay Institute was an incredibly formative time in my life. I was inspired to a lifelong pursuit of the good, the true and the beautiful by living in a community of individuals deeply committed to God and living a life of purpose. I feel deeply blessed to be able to come alongside KAN and witness this same inspiration in the lives of the students in Slovakia.

The California native, Isabel Cacho, attended Thomas Aquinas College, in Ojai, California and, on May 2011, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.  Her college experience instilled in her a deep love of Truth and consequently a love of education.  Isabel notes, “It was at TAC that I learned that education is about freedom. It is about freeing your mind to dwell on the higher things, which is what separates us from other creatures.” It was this love that brought her to the Kolegium where she hopes that she will be able to gain experience in teaching;

All my professors in college and even in high school were absolutely wonderful; they taught me how to think critically.  These days it seems as though we would rather teach our students what to think, than teach them how to think for themselves. I feel so blessed to be here and I hope I will inspire the same love of truth that my professors motivated me with in all the amazing students at KAN. I know that I can really learn from them as well. I have only been here a few days and already I have learned so much about life in Slovakia. You can really sense the love that they have for one another, something that I think is essential to shaping their community here.   

The girls will be working on several projects for KAN.  Indeed, they have their work cut out for them. In addition to conducting seminars at both Ivanka and Svoradov and holding English Conversation Classes, they will be maintaining the English version of the KAN website, writing the Newsletter, and continuing the ever important task of fundraising. Furthermore, the girls will soon be planning an Alumni Dinner for the Alum of KAN, the Witherspoon Institute, and the John Jay Institute. There are currently twelve Witherspoon Fellows and four John Jay Fellows concentrated throughout the Bratislava area.

With all these tasks, time management and organization will be integral skills for the girls to utilize, or at least develop quickly, if they want to accomplish all their tasks and have time to eat their favorite food, “zmrzlina” (ice cream). All in all, they are happy to greet their new home away from home and excited to begin their Slovak adventure.

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