About Heidi - Class of 2016
From: Algonquin, Illinois
Academic Interests: Art, French, Psychology
Extra-curricular Interests: Cross Country, Track and Field, Art Club, FCA
Heidi Heckenberg chose Central for its Christian foundations, but once on campus, she also found a passion for art and cross country.
When she was four years old and living in Athens, Greece, Heidi Heckenberg would give hugs and free afghan blankets to the refugees who visited the soup kitchen where her parents worked. Her mom and dad, both Americans, are missionaries, and Heidi was born in Athens and lived there the first four years of her life.
“A lot of the people my parents worked with were men who had come ahead of their families to find a better way for them,” Heidi explains. “So they really missed their families.”
Heidi’s faith—instilled in her by her parent’s good work—inspired her decision to attend Central College, even though she attended high school in Algonquin, Ill., in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Central is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, and many of its students take their Christian faith very seriously. “I just thought it would be a positive environment to be in,” Heidi says.
As a first year, Heidi has already gone on her first mission trip at Central—to McAllen, Texas, where the group built three houses and volunteered at schools in impoverished neighborhoods. She has also joined Fellowship for Christian Athletes (FCA), a continuation of a high school passion, when she was an FCA Corp Leader.
Heidi has also gotten involved with other activities on campus. A member of the cross country team, she enjoys the camaraderie among the athletes, who always cheer each other on. She’s looking forward to track season in the spring, which has more events—and more opportunities for cheering, since her teammates aren’t isolated in the woods.
Although cross country isn’t technically a team sport, she calls the Central squad a family. And she finds that the independent nature actually leads to more bonding. “I like that running is an individual sport and that it’s only competing against yourself,” Heidi says. “That way there is no one else you can pass the blame to if you don’t do as well as expected.”
When she’s not running in practice and around Pella, Heidi throws herself into academics as an art major. She is already impressed with Central’s art program, housed in the labyrinth-like Lubbers Center for the Visual Arts, which overflows with studios, supplies and state-of-the equipment.
“I really like the professors,” Heidi says. “They are really knowledgeable in their fields. Also, they offer classes that a lot of other schools don’t offer, like glassblowing. I think that’s a really cool opportunity.”
Heidi has already explored Printmaking, which she is taking this spring, and Metalsmithing, which has been her favorite class so far. She particularly enjoyed creating rings out of metal scraps.
Although Heidi has always been passionate about art—she says she could sit at a table drawing all day—she has found other interests at Central, including psychology and French, both of which she is considering as minors. The French minor has gotten her excited for a possible semester abroad in
Paris—an easy fit into her schedule with Central College Abroad.
Like many first year students, Heidi is looking forward to three more years of possibilities at Central. And she’s keeping an open mind about where her future might take her. She’s already enjoying a philosophy course this semester. Although she was born in Greece, she’s counting on Central to open up the world for her.