Chemistry teachers with chemistry


Mr. David Harnish, Science, and Mrs. Roberta Harnish, Science, look over their October schedule together. The Harnishs had been married for 22 years and taught chemistry classes next door to each other.

Kate Nowicki

Among the science department staff, Mrs. Roberta Harnish, Science, and Mr. David Harnish, Science, not only teach chemistry but have been married for 22 years.

“I remember thinking this was someone I would have a lot in common with,” Mr. Harnish said.

The couple met in Indianapolis at an Academic Coaches Conference and had their first date in Merrillville at a local pizzeria.

“We went to Giordano’s in Merrillville for deep dish pizza, but the pizza oven was broken so we ordered sandwiches instead,” Mrs. Harnish said.

Mr. and Mrs. Harnish decided to get married while shopping in Chicago.

“We had been dating for about a month and a half and were Christmas shopping at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. We were having lunch and talking about things that were coming up in the next year, and it simply became something that was just understood that we wanted to have happen in the next year. We just knew it was the next logical step for us,” Mrs. Harnish said.

The couple got into teaching before they’d finished getting their teaching degrees. It was incidental that they started their teaching careers so early.

“I received a call from my high school principal, and he asked me to come teach biology. I didn’t have my teaching degree but had a job I seriously hated, so I took the job,” Mrs. Harnish said.

Mrs. Harnish got her degree in Biology at Clarke University, her teaching certification at Purdue Calumet, and her MS in Secondary Science Education at Indiana University. Mr. Harnish got his BS in Secondary Science Education and his MS in Library Science at Indiana University.

“For most of our time here, we have been in separate areas of the building,” Mrs. Harnish said.

Their now adjacent classrooms are a coincidence. They were placed next door to each other so that they could share lab equipment.

“We were placed next door to each other because we share lab equipment for the ACP Chemistry courses. Some of the instruments we use in labs are sensitive and shouldn’t be moved around too much. It’s easier to move students than equipment,” Mr. Harnish said.

The Harnishs do not plan on retiring at the same time, but once they do, they plan to travel.

“[Our favorite thing to do together outside of school is] travel, read and just spend time together,” Mrs. Harnish said.

The Harnishs share a love of teaching, travelling, and doing everything to the best of their ability. They also share a mutual respect and admiration for each other.

“I love that Mr. H is such a wonderfully sweet, kind, thoughtful, and good natured gentleman. He’s brilliant, and he truly is my best friend and better half,” Mrs. Harnish said.

The couple looks forward to continuing both their work lives and home lives side by side for another 22 years and more.

“She completes me,” Mr. Harnish said.