Name, age: Hugh Higinbotham, 16.
School and Neighborhood: A sophomore at Kirkland’s , Hugh lives in the North Rose Hill neighborhood.
Accomplishments: Hugh is a self-taught yo-yo performer who has qualified for national competition and enjoys demonstrating his skills at fundraisers and talent shows. He is also active with his school's Kiwanis Club-affiliated Key Club and maintains a 4.0 grade point average.
Key to awesomeness: Hugh picked up the yo-yo after seeing one at an electronics store when he was in eighth grade. He was fascinated by the toy and wanted to give it a try.
“I thought it would be fun,” said Higinbotham.
Hugh then went online and discovered an entire yo-yo subculture that he wanted to be a part of.
“I just wanted to get into it,” said Higinbotham.
Hugh learned many of the tricks of the trade through online tutorials and various hobbyist forums and quickly improved his skills.
Hugh soon learned of a yo-yoing club that had existed in the Seattle area. Some members from that club split off and formed a Facebook group, which continues to grow. Calling themselves the Washington Yo-Yo Club, members meet on a semi-regular basis and share tips and tricks and generally inspire and encourage one another.
“It basically boils down to hanging out and playing with yo-yos,” said Higinbotham.
Hugh really likes the yo-yoing community, saying that they’re nice, friendly people. He also likes that he can go to a club meeting or competition and hang out with the best in the world.
Hugh’s practice time varies from day to day. During busy school days he grabs a bit of practice whenever he can, like when he’s waiting for a bus or during downtime between classes. During the summer his practice time can jump from a couple of hours a week to 10-15 hours a week.
“It’s really fun and addictive,” said Higinbotham.
Hugh particularly enjoys yo-yoing as a creative outlet. He has had other hobbies, like video games and some sports, but has found yo-yoing to be the most fun.
Aside from just playing around for fun and hanging out with friends, Hugh enjoys competing and performing at fund raisers and talent shows. He recently qualified for a national competition at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Yo-Yo Championships. But he hasn’t set his sights too high yet since he knows the world’s best have been honing their skills for 10 to 15 years.
“Mainly I just want to get better,” said Higinbotham.