One simple phone call to the main office at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada and the question is answered.
“‘Tologs’ is something the students came up with a long time ago,” explains the woman on the phone, in between her laughter and that of the other voices in the office, knowing exactly which question she is answering. “It’s not actually a thing.”
After some further investigation during a visit to the campus, it was revealed by assistant principal of co-curricular activities Katie Sadler that “Tologs” is actually an acronym originally created by the FSHA class of 1948.
“It stands for ‘To Our Lady of Good Success,’” Sadler said, smiling. “No one ever knows what it is.”
The school receives several calls per year, usually after one of their sports teams has enjoyed a particularly successful season, from various news and sports institutions inquiring about the strange mascot.
According to Joanne Bevan, a member of the famed class of ’48 and current attendance monitor, the Tologs idea was born during an annual school-wide spirit rally in 1946, when she and her classmates were sophomores.
“There were competitions between the classes, and each class had a song or theme for the day,” Bevan said. “My class named our team the Tologs, for ‘To Our Lady of Great Success,’ and the name stuck, I guess.”
Sadler claimed it stood for “good success.” Bevan said “great success.” Which is it?
“Oh, it goes back and forth,” Bevan explained. “No one really remembers exactly what is was.”
The Tologs’ name has been associated with Flintridge Sacred Heart athletics since the mid-'50s, when sports became more competitive at the Dominican, all-girls high school.
“I’m not sure how it came back, really,” Bevan said. “We didn’t know we were starting such a tradition.”
But it wasn’t until the early ‘80s that the actual mascot, Teddi Tolog, was born when a FSHA mother by the name of O’Grady crafted a full human-sized Teddy bear costume for the girls to wear at sporting events.
“We don’t have cheerleaders here, but we do have Teddi,” said principal Sister Celeste Botello. “Whoever wants to wear it can, but we always have one or two girls in each class who really enjoy it.”
The bear outfit, which was carefully explained to have a “cute, friendly” face and not the fierce, snarling image associated with most animal mascots, has seen some wear in its 20 years.
The plush nose has fallen off and is now attached via safety pin and its matching paw-gloves have long been missing.
The once-fluffy fur looks a little worn, and one must physically hold on the head piece to ensure the eye-holes align with one’s actual line of vision.
“We’ve been mentioning to parents in our newsletter, ‘anyone’s mother care to sew a new costume?’” said Sadler. “So far, we haven’t had any takers.
“But even if they did get a new one, I don’t think the girls would give up the old costume. Tradition is very big here.”
Indeed it is. Current FSHA junior and student athlete Marielle Galanto says that modern students like the Tologs as much as its original founders.
“It’s unique, and pretty cool,” Galanto said. “Even if we have to explain it all the time.”
Classmate Alissa Chan agrees.
“It still holds meaning for students today,” she said. “We have a few cheers for the Tologs, too.”
The mystery is revealed: “Tologs” is a unique, original acronym, and “Teddi” its well-worn visual counterpart.