Sydney Weiss, 86, formerly of Melrose Park, longtime principal of Kensington High School for Girls, died Tuesday, March 4, of Type 1 diabetes at a nursing facility in Clearwater, Fla.

From 1971 to 1990, Mr. Weiss was principal of Kensington High School for Girls. In that role, he encouraged students from humble beginnings, much like his own, to work hard and lift themselves out of poverty by daring to go to college.

An Inquirer reporter wrote in 1989 that Mr. Weiss "beams like a proud father" when he talks about his students' achievements and college dreams.

"Education was very important to him," said his daughter, Debbie W. Picker.

Mr. Weiss held other positions in the School District of Philadelphia. Starting in 1949, he worked his way up from teacher to department head, and then supervisor and finally, principal.

In addition, Mr. Weiss taught at Drexel University and Trenton State College, now the College of New Jersey.

Born in South Philadelphia, he moved to Mount Airy before settling in 1967 in Melrose Park where he and his wife, the former Lillian "Bibby" Freedman, raised a family. They were married 57 years.

He graduated from South Philadelphia High School for Boys, and from Temple University with a bachelor's of science degree in education in 1949. He earned a master's degree in education from Temple in 1950.

Mr. Weiss coached Temple University's former community basketball team. He had numerous speaking engagements and was involved with many professional organizations, and community groups.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Rhonda A.; a son, Mitchell M.; four grandchildren; and a sister.

Services are set for 10 a.m. Friday, March 7, at Temple Ahavat Shalom, 1575 Curlew Rd., Palm Harbor, Fla.

Donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association, Attn: Step Out, 333 Seventh Ave., Suite 1700, New York, N.Y. 10001 or via