ERHS Honors the Memory of Mr. Coit Hendley

Anam Khatib

Eli Hertzler-McCain, Writer

Mr. Coit Hendley began teaching in 1978 in Anne Arundel County and came to Prince George’s county in 1987. He was a member of the Roosevelt community from 1991 to 2017. On any given day during that time, he could be found in room 133 teaching both AP Chemistry and Research Practicum. 

Mr. Hendley was an extremely accomplished educator. In 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 he had the highest number of African American Students pass the AP Chemistry test in the country. In 2014 he was awarded the Agnes Meyers Outstanding Teacher Award by the Washington Post. The Post describes its winners as examples of “what works in the classroom.” Additionally, his accomplishments were not only acknowledged by his peers, but by students as well. In 2014 ERHS students voted and presented him with the National Honor Society Teacher of the Year award and the Science and Tech Teacher of the Year award. 

Former students and colleagues take this time to remember how Mr. Hendley changed  their lives. 

Anish Jain, ERHS class of 2014, said he remembers how Mr Hendley “hugely impacted so many of his students’ lives, but it was through so many subtle ways, so at the time we never understood the impact. It wasn’t until years later when we found ourselves achieving success through the knowledge, habits, skills, and even life lessons he taught us as teenagers.” Jain also remembers the words of wisdom Mr. Hendley would impart before every test and the disappointment he and his classmates felt when Mr. Hendley told them he would not be able to see them before they took the AP Chem test. Right before the test began Mr. Hendley walked in and “the place erupted, we were cheering and clapping for him like it was a basketball game.” 

Ms. Jane Hemelt, now the Science and Tech coordinator, started her career at ERHS as a Chemistry and AP Chem teacher. Her classroom was right next to Mr. Hendley’s. “He was in 233. I was in 232. Even that first year I knew he was something special… The students always felt like they could come to him. They had no hesitation.”

Simply put, Ms Hemelt said she remembers Mr. Hendley as “The best teacher I have ever worked with.”

Mr. Hendley spent his years after ERHS at Elizabeth Seton High School. He was there from 2017 to 2020. His students at Seton remember him just as fondly as they do at ERHS. 

Lauren Gomes, Elizabeth Seton class of 2020 had Mr. Hendley for both honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry. Gomes said she remembers how “when we would fall behind, he would hold our hands every step of the way.” She also remembers the detail and care Mr. Hendley put into his work. “Every step of every titration problem was done by hand himself, not just some PDF he found on Google. He was steadfast, hardworking and for the people- in particular, for the kids.” 

Mr. Hendley passed away on January 29, 2020 at sixty seven years of age. The celebration of life was held on February second at the Romano Vineyard. The ERHS community remembers Mr. Hendley for his positive impact on the lives of his students and co-workers.