Academic Teams

When you join one of our academic teams, you will be working together with fellow students who share your interests. Competition will help you learn how to handle pressure, to be part of a team, to build poise and confidence, and to enjoy the thrill of learning.

Come give one of our teams a try!

Mock Trial

Mock TrialMock Trial is an activity in which students learn the principles of trial advocacy and then apply those principles as they try a fictitious case. Students that are involved in Mock Trial foster an increased self-confidence, improved analytical and speaking skills, and the ability to work well with others – not to mention it’s a lot of fun.

Like a real legal team, La Reina’s Mock Trial team spends several afternoons each week mastering state and federal rules of evidence, practicing proper courtroom procedure, figuring out facts on both the Prosecution and Defense sides of the case at bar, and devising case theory based on the facts supplied by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Students learn how vital teamwork is as they compete against teams from California, other high schools from every state in the US, and six foreign countries, in tournaments held in real Superior and Federal courthouses.

Join the Mock Trial Club

21 County Championships

The Constitutional Rights Foundation in conjunction with the Ventura County Office of Education, hosts the Ventura County Mock Trial Championship in the last week of February at the Hall of Justice in Ventura, California each year. Since its inception in 1990, La Reina's team has been the Ventura County Champions 21 times.

Ventura County's Mock Trial program, which includes nearly 30 teams, has been called the top in the state, boasting hundreds of Superior, Appellate, and Federal court attorneys and judges who volunteer hundreds of hours each year to the program that teaches leadership skills to high school students in the community.

Four State Championships

La Reina Mock Trial made history in 2013 by becoming the first team in the state history to win three consecutive state championships, and the first California team to win the Constitutional Rights Foundation's competition four times, in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Former coach, Liz Harlacher, attributed the teams' success to the work ethic of the students and to their ability to adapt to unexpected in-round situations. "The most important thing I teach is that successful people make mistakes but when they fall dawn they hop right back up and keep moving until the goal that they have set has been reached."

Two National Championships

La Reina won the HSMTC (High School National Mock Trial Championship - open only to state champions) back-to-back in 2011-2012. The team qualified four times in six years from 2008-2013.

In 2013, La Reina Mock Trial won all preliminary rounds and for the first time in four trips to Nationals, entered the final round of competition the top seeded team in the country. In a championship round that was argued beautifully by both teams competing, Team California lost on a 4/3 split decision to New Mexico.

Two World Championships

The Empire World Championship is a tournament open to State and Nationals champions and to at-large teams who have shown a record of consistent success over a five year period of their competition history.

State champion La Reina Mock Trial represented California in winning the World Championship in 2011 and went on to make history by being the first school to win back-to-back World titles in 2012. The school returned to the World championships again in 2013.

Eileen DeBruno Mock Trial Courtroom

Ellen DeBruno Mock Trial CourtroomNamed for the revered founder of the groundbreaking La Reina Mock Trial program, the Eileen DeBruno Mock Trial Courtroom is the only dedicated mock trial courtroom in any high school in all of Ventura County and is one of the finest such facilities in the country.

The late Mrs. DeBruno, known by many as the La Reina librarian, was the first La Reina Mock Trial coach and the woman whose hard work helped shape the program into the powerhouse it is today. On weekends, Mrs. DeBruno arrived early to the La Reina library to open it for the mock trial team, hauling water bottles, bagels, fruit, and juice to sustain the girls throughout the three-hour practices. She built this program into an enduring success that was been a leader in the mock trial community for decades, including being the first ever all-girls school to advance to Nationals (in 2008)

Mrs. DeBruno's presence is still felt in the Mock Trial team as the school graduates young women each year who, as a result of their participation in this tremendous program, go on to attend top-ranked colleges and graduate schools with the goal of serving their communities no matter their chosen profession. The Courtroom was opened in 2014 and named in Mrs. DeBruno's honor so that her positive impact will continue to be felt on campus for years to come.

Complete with custom furniture and a distinctive design, this space provides La Reina students a unique opportunity to practice in a classroom that is perfectly suited to honing mock trial skills.

Speech & Debate

The La Reina Speech & Debate team is designed to develop communications, leadership, and important public speaking skills in an entertaining, fun environment. Members of the Speech & Debate team prepare interpretive, improvisational, creative, and debate-based events and compete with other students from around the state and country.

Students earn points for participating on the Speech & Debate team and can earn the special ruby graduation cord for reaching the level of “Distinction” after competing in 30 rounds of competition. Many of our students attain the highly revered award of Academic All-American by attaining the level of Superior Distinction and maintaining a high GPA. In 2017, the NSDA (National Speech and Debate Association) recognized La Reina as being among the top 1% of all high school programs in the country, Emily Aguilar '19 and Elleora Svoboda '19 were named NSDA All-Americans, and Alanna Cronk '19 won the State Championship in Oratory as a sophomore.

La Reina High School’s Speech and Debate team is ranked by the National Forensics League among the top 5% of all high school Forensics programs in America.

Join Speech & Debate


La Reina's Robotics Team engages in academically challenging competitions which are styled to encourage the enthusiasm and exhilaration of sporting events. The students design, build, and program all the machines that they enter into competition. The team competes in four or more local Vex Robotics tournaments with robot designs that fulfill the requirements of the current game. These events are very inclusive, encouraging teams to help each other and share their expertise while enjoying the competitions. Teams that succeed in the local tournaments are eligible for state or national competitions.

This activity provides real-world experience as the girls are developing spatial and mathematical skills. Most schoolwork is in text and 2-D, so seeing our girls deploy a 6-bar arm or an IF-THEN loop is exciting. Our students quickly learn how to use various sensors and apply that data to the robot's response. We offer a 7th period elective class to provide an introduction to both the mechanics and the programming needed to design machines.

La Reina's Roboregents reached the Southern California State competition in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2017, the Roboregents reached the finals of the Southern California State competition along with our alliance partners, and qualified for the Vex World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky on April 15 - 18. Congratulations and good luck to our robotics team 1034A, Kaitlyn Kelleher '20, Jillian Violano '18, Deanna Rice '17, Jessica Manoogian '18 and Amelia Jochem '18.

The Robotics team's home is our brand new, on-campus Robotics lab.

Join the Robotics Club

Academic Decathlon

After restarting the program in 2016, La Reina qualified for Nationals representing California in 2018, placing 2nd in the Online Nationals for Medium-sized schools.

Jenna Matus '18 finished 1st overall at Nationals (five gold medals) and four other Regents medaled in the competition.

In the Ventura County Championships, La Reina placed in the Top three in 10 events, earning 1st place in Speech, 1st place in Literature, 2nd place in Super Quiz and Economics, and 3rd place in Essay, Art, Math, Science, and Social Science. Individually, every member of earned at least one medal.