Bleckley 5th Graders Receive Gifted Hands Book from OFTC, Dublin & Cochran Rotary Clubs

Every fifth-grade student at Bleckley County Elementary School received the book Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson from Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Rotaract Club, Wednesday, May 5.  

Members of OFTC, the Dublin and Cochran Rotary Clubs, Bleckley County Superintendent, and Bleckley County Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal gathered for a photo prior to handing out the book Gifted Hands to 180 fifth grade students at Bleckley County Elementary School.
Members of OFTC, the Dublin and Cochran Rotary Clubs, Bleckley County Superintendent and Bleckley County Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal.

For five years OFTC’s Rotaract Club prioritized this project in Laurens County. And it’s sponsored by the Dublin Rotary Club. Together, they’ve distributed a combined total of 3,500 copies of the Dr. Ben Carson book to local fifth grade students attending city, county or private schools in Laurens County. 

So, this year, the Cochran Rotary Club wanted to get this book into the hands of Bleckley County fifth grade students.  

“As a member of Rotary, one of our core focus areas is supporting education; and what better way than to give a book about education and adversity and learning to our fifth-grade students,” shared Will Curry, Dublin Rotary Club President. “Also, this year we are partnering with the Cochran Rotary club. We’re so excited about this partnership that we can expand our reach not just from Laurens County but partnering with a sister Rotary Club in Bleckley County.”  

Why Gifted Hands? 

Bleckley County Superintendent Steve Smith handing out a Gifted Hands book to a Bleckley County fifth grader.

When OFTC’s Rotaract Club started this project, they chose the book Gifted Hands because of its message. That’s what Janet Smith, OFTC’s Director of Student Life and Rotaract Club Advisor said. “By exposing students to a story of the rewards of discipline, we increase the likelihood that our community fifth graders will not only come to understand the importance of reading and writing but will also be encouraged to understand that regardless of their circumstances they can achieve their goals and follow their dreams.” 

“Dr. Carson’s story is inspiring for anyone but especially these young fifth grade students,” Smith added. “His story shows the type of perseverance and support that’s required to rise above your circumstances, which is a message we all need at times.” 

OFTC President, Erica Harden, giving the book Gifted Hands to a Bleckley County Elementary School student.

Student Incentives 

This year students were incentivized to read their newly acquired book. “Once these students have the books, they’ll have an opportunity to read them and provide a one-page book report,” shared Henry Whitfield, Cochran Rotary Club member. “And once that book report has been submitted, the teachers from each fifth-grade class will judge the book report and the winners will receive a $50 Bleckley Bucks gift card provided from the Cochran-Bleckley County Chamber of Commerce.”  

“This is an inspiring book, and we hope you enjoy it,” added Erica Harden, OFTC President. “So, students, start reading! We hope you all get a chance to win that wonderful gift card. And I hope this inspires a love of reading for you for the rest of your life.”  

And, for more info about OFTC’s Rotaract Club or their 140+ programs of study, visit the college’s website, To learn more about Rotary or to find a club near you, visit the Rotary website.