By Victor Gordon
AFTER doing his own little bit for the Barack Obama Presidential campaign in the State of Wisconsin, Charles Higgins is happy living back in Castlerock — at least during school term.
But come the end of each term and he and his dad Charlie, a retired electrical contractor, catch the first plane to America to be with mum — and that’s how he came to have his picture taken with the President elect.
His American mother Jennifer is a high-powered lawyer in the US and was a vital cog in Obama’s fight for Wisconsin, where he gained 53% of the vote and grabbed all 10 seats in the mid-western state during the race to the White House.
Fast-talking Charles (15) did what comes naturally to him during the hectic campaigning. He acted as an unofficial PR and liaised with the Press to propagate the Obama message.
“It was a great experience on the campaign trail,” he said. “Mum runs her own legal firm in the city of Eau Claire in Wisconsin and she introduced me to Mr Obama, we had a short chat about food, and I had my picture taken with him.”
Charles was born in New York City where his Coleraine dad and his mum met, and they settled in Wisconsin. But the family found the American education system “very poor” and they decided he should go to school back home. He attends St Joseph’s College in Coleraine and Charles and dad live in Castlerock during term time.
“I prefer it here in Northern Ireland,” said the teenager. “And the weather suits me better. Wisconsin is covered in snow for four months during the winter and the heat is unbearable during the summer. And the wind blows constantly and the mosquitoes bite.
“I was back in Northern Ireland when the main Presidential election was on and I was delighted when Obama won. Mum is over the moon. We all see a great future for the States under his Presidency, and he’ll have quite an influence on world affairs.”
Charles’s dream, though, is to eventually return to America and try his hand at his favourite pastime — acting.
“I love acting in school plays,” he said. “But my ultimate aim is Hollywood. Why not? If a black man can become President of the United States of America...”