In less than two years, La Reina High School & Middle School will celebrate 60 years of providing young women with an excellent academic and transformative education. Long treasured by families in the Conejo Valley, La Reina was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1964, the same year the City of Thousand Oaks was established.
The Sisters of Notre Dame honor St. Julie Billiart as their “Spiritual Mother.” While St. Julie died more than 200 years ago, her guidance and life’s work in educating young people continues to infuse La Reina’s work with its students. Despite the challenges of her time during the French Revolution, Julie was confident in God’s goodness and Divine Providence. Today, La Reina’s faculty trust, as Julie did, that God is in our classrooms helping us do the great work of education.
Sister Regina Robbins, La Reina’s Dean of Mission and school chaplain, recently shared more about Julie’s educational vision, formed more than 200 years ago, and how it continues to inform La Reina’s daily work with students.
WHY IS ST. JULIE, IN PARTICULAR, A SAINT FOR OUR TIME?
Today we are experiencing a revolution at a speed hard to keep up with. Tensions between left and right, political unrest and divisions, human trafficking, homelessness, gender dys- phoria, a deluge of messages coming to us via the internet and social media, as well as the TV and film industry.
The value and meaning of family life and support is threatened. Secularism, materi- alism, superficial values that promise hap- piness, keep calling our youth to buy more, have more to fill up an aching emptiness.
So much loss of learning and social skills due to Covid isolation. Fear of being labeled or left out has called our young to compro- mise their instinctive values to just fit in.
Julie said, ‘We need courageous souls now more than ever.’ La Reina’s leadership, faculty and staff are inspired by Julie’s encouragement, and it is with this spirit, trusting in the good- ness of God, that we support our students and help them navigate.
HOW IS LA REINA UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS TODAY?
La Reina is unique, not only in its mission and vision, but in the way they are lived. Our mission at La Reina calls each of us to respond to the needs of our time. La Reina has a rich history in our community; it has a history of loving, educating and growing young women in a solid academic environment. Now, more than ever, La Reina educators are focused on what our children need, responding to those current needs and acknowledging the com- plexities of our time.
The approach we take calls for listening and partnering with our community. Our educators take the time to listen to their students. We often say that La Reina educa- tors teach the students before them rather than teach a curriculum. We say this because every year is unique, and every student is unique. This knowledge demands of us that we work together to foster an environ- ment where student need is acknowledged, responded to and the school community grows together.
Julie insisted that educators take note of the God-given talents of each child and bring those to development. With the instructional shift that our Principal Maggie Marschner has led over the past several years, leaning into our student’s God-given talents and strengths while building their confidence in new areas of knowledge and skill is our top priority.
WHAT IS MOST EXCITING ABOUT YOUR WORK WITH LA REINA’S STUDENTS?
Now more than ever before in La Reina’s history, the school is being called to share the goodness of God and the love that He has for His children, with the students we serve. I have truly enjoyed spending much of the last two years with our 6th and 7th grade girls, being present to them.
What I have felt most profoundly is their deep yearning to have a relationship with God. This was made even more clear to me when I recently began planning the retreats for next school year. Wanting to ensure that we meet our students’ needs, I asked the 6th-grade class to share how they would like to spend a retreat day. I was deeply moved by their responses and am pleased to share just a few:
“I would like to go and pray and have time to talk to someone if something is troubling me or my friends.” Another young stu- dent wrote, “I would like to go to the chapel to listen to music and write in a journal. I would also like more time to talk and have spiritual counseling with the Sisters of Notre Dame, one on one.”
Sophiabella, a 2022 graduate, recently offered the following in regard to her La Reina experience:
“It wasn’t until my freshman year at La Reina that I started to foster a personal relationship with God. It was in Mrs. Sain’s 9th grade religion class that I learned who God is. Quite literally we were learning the history of the Catholic faith. The way Mrs. Sain taught the class made it interesting. Each year I learned different aspects of my Catholic faith, whether it was how to act or learn- ing traditions. I found that it was the teachers that helped me to foster my faith. I was able to build my faith so that by my senior year on the 30th of April 2022, I was confirmed. While many see religion as an overwhelming set of rules and regulations, I learned at La Reina that religion is actually showing kindness into the world and trying to make the world a better place.”
SEARCHING FOR A SCHOOL THAT FOCUSES ON YOUR DAUGHTER’S FUTURE?
Please join us to explore your daughter’s educational options. The best way to experience La Reina is through on-campus tours and visit days. Register for a visit at LaReina.com. A limited number of spots are still available for the 2022-2023 school year.
For questions and more information, please contact Renee Biezins, director of admissions at 805.495.6494, extension 1008.
Important Admission Dates:
Oct. 1, 2022
Applications Open 2023- 2024 school year
Nov. 6, 2022
Fall Open House
Nov. 8, 2022
Shadow Visit Days Start, Regent for a Day
Nov. 16, 2022
Freshmen for a Day
Dec. 3, 2022
Christmas Tree Lighting
Jan. 13, 2023
Priority Application Deadline
Jan. 14 & 20, 2023
High & Middle School Entrance Exams
Feb. 17, 2023
Bring a Friend Day
March 3, 2023
Offer of Admission