OTTOVILLE — To say Melissa Burgei is busy would be a gross understatement. The Ottoville High School senior, along with living in a family of five children is also involved with many school organizations, as well as in the community.
“I’m the president of our local Family Career Community Leaders of America chapter, I’m on National Honor Society, I’m on student council and I’m involved with the Immaculate Conception youth group,” she said. “I also student teach at a dance studio, so I get to know a lot of Ottoville and Fort Jennings students there.”
Keeping up with all those activities requires a lot of organization and time management from this high school senior.
“I have a set schedule,” she said. “If I don’t have my calendar with me, I’m pretty lost. I also work part-time at Ottoville Hardware. Between that, homework, being involved and family, I’m busy 24/7.”
Burgei will also be working a second job this summer at Delphos Country Club while also starting her first online college coursework today, six days before her high school graduation. In all these activities, Burgei’s motivation is simply that she enjoys being productive.
“I like keeping busy because I don’t know how to sit around and do nothing,” she said. “Plus I like to give back. I’ve been put here on this Earth, so I might as well do something good with my time.”
That mindset should serve her well in her chosen vocation of occupational therapy. She plans on earning her associate degree from Rhodes State College before moving on to the University of Findlay, with her goal being to earn a master’s degree in the discipline.
Burgei was inspired to pursue this line of work thanks to a family friend.
“We have a family friend that would speak to me about it, and that got me interested,” she said. “I would job shadow her a lot, and once I started meeting the patients and seeing how she was impacting their lives, it really got me looking into it.”
Many facets of occupational therapy appeal to Burgei, including being able to minister to her patients both physically and emotionally.
“There was one person who I met when I was job shadowing,” she said. “He had a severe stroke and not only did she help him with thereapy, but she also counseled him emotionally because he didn’t have that family support. It’s nice to know that I can help people not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
One of Burgei’s hobbies could actually translate very well to helping her patients regain motor control.
“I quilt blankets and crochet every now and then,” she said. “It’s a lot of fine motor coordination.”
Burgei’s temperament may be her biggest asset though when it comes to helping patients become more independent.
“I’m a very independent person,” she said.