Jean Pierre Orlewicz, an 18-year-old Canton High School student, will be sentenced to life in prison on May 12 after being convicted of murder, but his actions will radiate far beyond his jail cell walls. For years to come, the township of Canton will be known as the home of one of the most violent murders the state of Michigan has ever seen.
When I first came to MSU, telling people what high school I graduated from sparked statements like “oh, the IKEA place” or “wow, the place with three schools?” However, during this semester, people say “did you know the murderer?” Forget that the Canton community has the fourth largest school district in the state, that we have a professional hockey team, or that we are the home of Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto – all of that has been temporarily forgotten because of some stupid kid.
Never once have I felt embarrassed to say where I was from, until now. Never before did I think that anyone would have anything bad to say about a thriving community that is full of great people and great places. Now everyone’s focus is on J.P. Orlewicz, someone who doesn’t deserve to say he’s from the same high school as me.
Canton’s students should be known for their achievements, not their faults. How about Allison Schmitt, a Canton swimmer who’s looking towards the Olympics because she’s that good? What about James Wisniewski, a Canton grad who now plays for the Chicago Blackhawks in the National Hockey League? Nobody’s talking about them, only talking about a murderer.
Don’t let him become the face of Canton. He’s not worth it.