Passing the torch

The Youngstown chapter of the International Association of Torch Clubs is offering a new $1,000 scholarship for both undergraduate and graduate students at Youngstown State University.

The scholarship requires applicants to write and present an essay at a Torch Club meeting. The scholarship is being funded by the club itself and by a $500 donation from Perc Kelty, widower of Gene Kelty who taught English at YSU. Tom Copeland, professor emeritus of English at YSU, said the group is looking for fluid and well-informed essays.

“This was partly a device to make us well known, but it’s important we give students the chance to express themselves,” Copeland said. “Don’t do it just for a requirement; do it because you have something to say.”

Copeland said he’s sure that the biggest fear ahead of death is public speaking.

The Association of Torch Clubs was founded in 1924 by William Bullock in Minneapolis and includes groups in the United States and Canada.

The Youngstown chapter was founded in 1932 and is a group of 16 members who meet at YSU once a month to have dinner and hear a speech by one of its members. Four members of the Youngstown chapter are former YSU professors.

Charles Darling, professor emeritus of history at YSU, has been a member since the 1970s.

“We’ve had a host of talented people in the group and some great presidents over the years,” Darling said.

The club has a high rate of its writers published in its quarterly magazine, “The Torch.” The scholarship recipient will also have the chance to be published in the magazine.

“We have a record of large numbers being printed in ‘Torch’ magazine,” Darling said. “Articles are based on all kinds of subjects. Social, cultural, political, economical, and [we] recently had a piece covering the arts.”

Darling said it takes a couple of hours out of your month.

“Anyone can join, but we recognize that we’re old people,” Darling said.

To enter, participants should prepare a paper copy of their essay to read as well as an electronic copy. Students can email their submission to Copeland at

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