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Student Leadership Institute


2017-18 Topic-Depression

Each fall students in SLi are given a cultural topic and are asked to wrestle with the concept from a variety of angles. This fall the topic of “Depression” was selected for several compelling reasons.

  • First, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that Major Depressive Disorder, more commonly known as depression, is the most common disabling disease in the world now affecting more than 300 million people. Research also indicates that depression is on a steady and alarming rise in the past decade, especially as it relates to a younger generation.
  • Second, the conversation about depression is happening in our culture today. The recent popularity of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (which has depression and suicide as the central theme of the show) and the increasing number of celebrities who are beginning to share via social media about their struggles with depression or other mental illnesses is constantly educating our students on this issue.
  • Depression is also connected to the issue of suicide, which is now the second leading cause of death for teenagers. Last year alone, three students at Plano Senior High took their own lives. Several experts report that for every suicide, there are around 25 unsuccessful suicidal attempts.
  • Finally, the effects of depression severely affect the ability of a person to be a successful student – from the way that person thinks (school work), to their ability to sleep (again, consider the effect on school work), their ability to relate to others (friends, teachers, family), and finally, the relationship between depression and increased risk behavior (drugs, alcohol, suicide, etc.).

Servant leadership is an integral part of SLi and we hope to equip students with the tools they need to serve those they know suffering from depression. We want our students to talk about it and open dialogue to what they as individuals and PCA as a community can do better to address this issue. We will have several weeks of testimony and information presented. Students will then be asked to digest this information, wrestle with the concepts offered and present their findings and conclusions on this topic.

Our guest speaker schedule:

Aug. 29 – Panel discussion on topic featuring PCA alum and PCA parent of alum

Sept. 5 – Video of Pastor Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible sharing his personal experience with depression

Sept. 12 – June Hunt, CEO of Hope for the Heart, sharing a Biblical perspective on the topic

Sept. 19 – Sheila Walsh, author and Christian performer, sharing from her personal experience with depression

If you need further information on the issue of depression please visit our parent resources page

"My favorite thing about PCA is the biblical worldview and the intentional training of students to be servant leaders."

PCA Parent

What is Student Leadership Institute (SLi)?

The mission of the Student Leadership Institute at Prestonwood Christian Academy is to assist young people in the development of their leadership philosophy and skills by exposing them to a biblically-based, multifaceted and year-long program.

What does SLi teach?

SLi trains students with the definition of biblical leadership in mind. SLi uses a model of teaching that is founded from God’s Word and focuses on individual and institutional commitments to becoming selfless. It is the Institute’s goal that students connect these principles to their campus, community and church. Students are challenged to become more like Christ as they strive for a higher level of leadership training.

SLi Themes from Past School Years

2016-17 Topic: Poverty

Our discussion will look at the effects of poverty on our community. We will examine poverty and how it impacts:

  • Families
  • Church
  • Education
  • Crime

2015-16 Topic: 6 Disconnects with Millennials

Why are so many millennials are leaving the church? Our discussion was based on David Kinnaman's book You Lost Me, which examines the results of a nationwide survey of 18-29 year-olds with a Christian background. We discovered why so many are disengaging from the faith community and discussed ways to help churches avoid these "disconnects."

2014-15 Topic: Income Equality

Students were given the task of wrestling with an issue that’s been called “the defining challenge of our time.” From Wall Street to your street, the topic of Income Inequality usually brings a healthy and passionate discussion, and we want to prepare our students to engage in the important dialogue of their day. Students were allowed to select from several different scenarios from a maximum wage on CEO salaries to a comparison of US poverty vs. the world. Working with a two seniors, each group prepared a presentation where their “thinking” was challenged by SLi faculty. The goal for students was to deepen their critical thinking and analysis and for them to present their thoughts in a persuasive manner. While the conversation in their groups was dynamic and engaging, we want that same conversation to happen at home as well.

2013-14 Topic: "2031"

Students were presented with information about various trends and developments that will literally shape the world as we know it! Students were asked to examine these changes and project what life will be like in the year 2031. Various articles and information was made available to the students to help them think creatively and critically about the world around them, especially focused on four primary areas of cultural significance: the family, religion, race and technology. What will the world look like, what can students do today to prepare for tomorrow, how should the church respond to the changing environment?

2012-13 Topic: Statesmanship

As we look back and examine some of the great men and women who greatly influenced the course of history (for good and bad), the hope is that students will catch the vision of Statesmanship and that this vision will be ever at the forefront of their minds as they push forward with their own careers and goals and as they become the guardians of our American system of government.

Another goal from this venture into Statesmanship is that students will be inspired to emulate some of the characteristics and qualities of these great men and women. With such a lack of Statesmen today, we hope to give students an opportunity to experience these Statesmen of the past. As President Truman once said about the great Statesman General George C. Marshall, “The more I see and talk to him, the more certain I am he’s the great one of the age.” Exposure to these great Statesmen, even if only in theory or discussions, will hopefully encourage young people to think great thoughts and pursue lofty and meaningful goals with their lives. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” We need to help students believe in the heroic once again, to give them a vision for Statesmanship since their “heroes” pale in comparison to the great men and women from the past.

2011-12 Topic: Cultural Engagement – Thinking Critically about the Issues of Our Day

This broad topic allowed students to choose the issue that most interested them. The four subtopics were: The Poor, Legalization of Marijuana, Deterioration of Marriage, and the Family and the Spread of Radical Islam.