IT'S BETTER late than never as David Race learnt when he received the title of school Dux of Preston Public School — 62 years later.
The 74-year-old Carlingford man was denied his award from the school in 1953 on a technicality.
"From time to time, it's something that's always bugged me, in all the years I never received the recognition," he said.
Mr Race, who had to repeat year 6 because he was too young, was deemed ineligible for the award despite having the most outstanding grades, because he repeated.
"It's like running in the Melbourne Cup the second time and not getting the trophy because you ran last year," he said.
"I didn't realise how much it meant to me until 10 years ago.
"I was telling my wife about it and I was quite upset at the time."
After hearing his father's story, his 42-year-old son — Matt Race from Castle Hill — spoke to school principal Mark Greentree, who organised for David to receive his long-overdue trophy.
He received the Dux title in front of his son Matt and hundreds of Prestons Public pupils during an awards ceremony at the school last week.
"It's been a real honour to get here and find recognition for my father," Matt said.
"I was proud to see him up there.
"I never had his intelligence. It was never passed on to his sons, unfortunately.
"It's a shame his parents weren't here to see him but I was lucky enough to be."
Even if it's 62 years late, effort is worth something and it should be recognised.Principal Mark Greentree
Since Mr Race finished school, he's become a husband, a father and a grandfather and ran one of the biggest dental laboratories in the world.
"I have a lot to thank Prestons for," he said.
"My strength today, I believe, was gained by the teachings I got from this school."
Mr Greentree said he was grateful to play a role in making sure the Race family were given their dues.
"It was something that could carry a message on to the kids at school — even if it's 62 years late, effort is worth something and it should be recognised," he said.
"To know my very minor little act has made a big difference in an individual and family's life is what being a principal is all about.
"Making a difference in kids' lives... even if those kids are 62 years older than they were."