Judge, stylist and finance director enter Ridgewood Hall
Ivana Di Piero opened the Ivana Di Piero Hair Studio in Norridge in 1991. | Contributed photo
Ridgewood Alumni Hall of Fame Brunch
Time: 11 a.m. Saturday
Location: Ridgewood High School, 7500 W. Montrose Ave., Norridge
Tickets: $25, available at the door
Updated: November 26, 2012 7:04AM
NORRIDGE — Ivana Di Piero wanted to know how to do her hair and nails when she took advantage of Ridgewood High School’s partnership with a local beauty school.
That partnership led Di Piero to later open her own salon, a fixture in the community for 21 years.
Rick Ewanio’s Ridgewood connections led him on the career path to be a school business administrator.
Those connections, including being hired by his Ridgewood football coach Richard J. Martwick in the Cook County Regional Superintendent of Schools office, led Ewanio to more than 40 years in school finance, including 30 years as chief school business official for the Prospect Heights School District.
Sam Amirante credits large group and individual study classes at Ridgewood, as well as its seminars, with providing him an opportunity to express himself and to know if he had a disagreement to argue his cause.
The classes laid the foundation for an individual who, in his first case as a defense attorney, defended John Wayne Gacy, and who eventually become a judge.
Amirante, a member of the Class of 1966; Ewanio, the Class of ‘68; and Di Piero, the Class of ‘87, are the three latest additions to the Ridgewood Hall of Fame. They will be inducted Saturday morning.
“It is a wonderful honor, it is humbling,” Amirante said of his Hall of Fame induction. “It is hard to discuss it … It means the world to me.”
Di Piero, who mentors freshmen and does other volunteer work at the school, said she was “very surprised” by the recognition.
Ewanio said he takes the award not “as an honor for myself, but for everybody who helped me along the way.”
Amirante remains in private practice and is a retired Cook County Circuit Court judge, having served on the bench for 18 years.
He was the author of the Missing Child Act of 1984, now known as I-SEARCH and leading to today’s Amber Alerts for missing children. He appears on local and national television and radio as a legal analyst and is the author of the best-seller “Defending a Monster – John Wayne Gacy.”
“More people know me for a case I lost than anything else,” Amirante said.
Di Piero opened the Ivana Di Piero Hair Studio in Norridge in 1991 at the age of 22. Three years later, she moved the salon to Harlem and Wilson avenues.
She received the David Award in entrepreneurialism from the American National Union David Society in 2003. Di Piero mentors and provides job-shadowing at Ridgewood and runs an annual Pink Hair for Hope fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.
“We are a huge family,” Di Piero said of her salon’s clients. “We have an emotion every half-hour.”
Ewanio has been an adjunct faculty member at DePaul, Webster and Roosevelt universities, as well as a school business administrator. He said his Ridgewood connections led him to oversee more than $1 billion a year with the Cook County Regional Superintendent of Schools office early in his career.
“I was dealing with George Dunne to get budgets passed and I was dealing at a young age with John Stroeger,” Ewanio said.
He is an honorary member of Betta Gamma Sigma and earned the Wall Street Journal Achievement Award for being the Outstanding Financial Student at Southern Illinois University in 1972.
(An earlier version of this story misspelled George Dunne’s name)