Canada’s smartest person just might be living in Chatham-Kent.
If you talk to J.P. Huggins, he’d tell you that’s the truth … and then laugh.
Huggins, 35, has interviewed to be a contestant on Canada’s Smartest Person, a reality show put on by the CBC. It’s the show’s second season.
Huggins said he worked with Design 39 Media to develop a video application for the show.
It’s landed him in the final interview stages.
Is he Canada’s smartest person?
“Not quite yet,” he joked. “Maybe Cedar Springs’ smartest person. I still have a bit of a journey ahead of me.”
He said his wife encouraged him to apply for a berth on the show.
“She said, ‘You think you’re so smart, you should apply for that,’” Huggins said with a laugh.
For him, competition comes naturally.
“I love to compete at things. Technically, I’m the reigning national pit spit champion,” Huggins, who is the chair of this year’s Cherry Fest in Blenheim, said. “I’ll compete in just about anything.”
His effort earned him a 30-minute interview via Skype with one of the casting folks on the CBC show, he said. He thinks the interview went well, but won’t know until late July if he made the final cut.
As Huggins waits with fingers crossed to see if he’ll compete for the smartest person title, he looks back on where he’s come from.
“I struggled with learning disabilities. I was a solid D student until I got into college,” he said.
Once Huggins enrolled in the mechatronics program at St. Clair College, things changed.
“When I went there, I just put a lot of effort into it,” he said.
He said he landed on the mechatronics skills team, which won provincial silver.
But his crowning achievement at college was winning the president’s medal for leadership.
“Out of everybody who graduated – not just the mechatronics program, I was blessed enough to receive it,” Huggins said.
Today, Huggins works at Blenheim Chrysler and Royal LePage.
“I love working with people,” he said.
Regardless of if he makes the show, Huggins said he hopes to influence youth, including the ones at the Blenheim Youth Centre where he sits on the board of directors.
“I’m just a normal guy that likes to prove to people you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it,” he said.