Waltham celebrates being named the state's number-one city to live in

Waltham High School choir Music Unlimited performs for the audiencePhotos/Mike Lovett

Waltham High School show choir Music Unlimited

Waltham pride was on full display at Brandeis on Feb. 15, as members of city agencies joined with Brandeis and Bentley community members to celebrate the city's selection as Massachusetts' best city to live in by Money magazine.

Students in Waltham High School's award-winning show choir, Music Unlimited, performed moving renditions of "Man in the Mirror," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "I Don't Feel Noways Tired," before and after Mayor Jeannette C. McCarthy, Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz and Herlyne Das '18, a Waltham High School graduate, addressed the gathering. The celebration was hosted at Brandeis' Gosman Sports and Convocation Center.

"We've always known Waltham was a hidden treasure," McCarthy said. "There's one thing that Waltham has always celebrated: its people. We've always been diverse, and for the most part, we've always gotten along." McCarthy also praised the social justice missions of Brandeis and Bentley and the work the two universities do inside the city.

"I can tell you that Brandeis has been happy and proud to call Waltham our home since we were founded here in 1948.  We love our Waltham roots." Liebowitz said. "And we love the way Waltham is today -- diverse, welcoming, affordable, historic, exciting -- and with the best single street of terrific restaurants of any city in Massachusetts."

Liebowitz noted that more than 1,000 Brandeis students participate every year in The Waltham Group, which is the single largest club at the university. He added that Waltham businesses provide valuable internships for many Brandeis students.

Brandeis senior Herlyne Das, who is majoring in Biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy and is on the pre-med track, was born and raised in Waltham and recalled knowing McCarthy as a kindergartener at Stanley Elementary School. Das is president of Your Story International and is a Community Advisor at Brandeis.

"You would think I would want to leave by now and spread my wings, but in actuality Waltham has provided me with the resources to branch out and find myself right where I am," she said.

"Waltham is filled with endless resources to ensure that their residents are being taken care of," Das added, recalling that each year, Waltham High School students donate as much as $40,000 in gifts to more than 300 Waltham children at the holidays. "Personally, I can tell you it positively touches a lot of families' lives, because I used to be a part of that (group of) 300 growing up."

Das said it had been rewarding as a student at Brandeis to be able to work with Waltham children in the same programs where she had worked with Brandeis students as a youngster.

Other elected officials joining McCarthy at the event were state Rep. John J. Lawn Jr., D-Watertown; Waltham City Councilors Kristine Mackin - who earned her PhD in Biochemistry at Brandeis in 2014 - George Darcy, William Fowler, Randy LeBlanc, Kathleen McMenimen, Thomas Stanley and Carlos Vidal, and School Committee members John Graceffa and Stephen Rando. Representatives from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and state Sen. Michael J. Barrett, D-Lexington also attended.

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