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Gregory Donatelli

EJP Student




I’m trying to stay focused every day.

Gregory Donatelli, EJP Student










Gregory Donatelli: Shakespearean Actor

Gregory Donatelli became interested in the Education Justice Project after noticing that students in EJP classrooms typically placed their desks in large circles instead of rows. He’d never seen that sort of arrangement before. Greg had no interest in going back to school, but registered for an EJP course to satisfy his curiosity. Soon, he declared himself hooked.

Since then, Greg has enrolled in three more University of Illinois classes and joined EJP’s Theatre Initiative. He’s currently preparing for an upcoming production of The Tempest.

Politics are another passion of Greg’s. “I’m probably a moderate conservative,” he explains. “I believe in Jeffersonian democracy and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.”

Greg originally comes from Highland Park, Illinois, where his parents still live. He keeps in touch, but discourages frequent visits because the farewells tear him up. “After seeing my mother and father get up and leave the table [in the visiting room], I’m a wreck.”

After twelve years in prison, he’s learned to take things a day at a time.  “I’m working on that,” he says. “I’m trying to stay focused every day.”