Girls compete to raise funds for scholarship

The Little Miss Charmante Pageant has a special place in Barbara Pulliam's heart.

"This is something I hold very close to me. It means a lot to see the young girls out there on stage participating in the pageant, having fun," she said. "It also means a lot knowing that, at the same time, we are also raising money to send a student to college."

Held at Glenn Hills Middle School on Friday, the pageant featured nine girls ages 8-12 who competed in talent, casual and formal wear, and intellectual responses. Toniqua Freeman, a third-grade Collins Elementary School pupil, won the night's overall title, Little Miss Charmante.

Mrs. Pulliam organized the pageant 10 years ago as a way to raise funds for the Robbie Robinson Scholarship Foundation, founded in memory of her brother, Robert Robinson, who was killed at his law office in Savannah in 1989 by a mail bomb.

Each year, the foundation awards a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior in Richmond or Chatham counties who plans to attend Savannah State University, Paine College or the University of Georgia.

"He was an energetic person and was very much into politics and education," Mrs. Pulliam said of her brother. "We thought nothing could be more fitting than to honor him in memory through something that would be helping a person who wants to get a higher education in a service area like being a doctor or lawyer."

To be considered for the scholarship, students must have at least a C plus average and have a financial need.

"They also have to write an essay on their perception of what the struggle in civil rights has meant to them and the impact that it has had on today's society," Mrs. Pulliam said.

Mrs. Pulliam said she's pleased to see the pageant reach its 10th year.

"It means that we have been able to perpetuate his memory by helping children in need who want to get an education," she said. "It's good to know that we are helping someone get a college education."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.