Jane Adams, Tita Arky, Nikki Bojanski, Debbie Cusick, Kim Echstenkamper, and Cameryn Smith met faithfully around Jane’s dining room table to pray for direction and to address the logistics that might bring Deerstream Learning Center into existence. Tita secured Grace Church as a likely meeting place, and by the spring of 1998, only two things remained to make Deerstream a viable educational entity: forming a corporation and securing nonprofit status. And a big decision loomed: Could any of the steering committee members continue on as members of a board to oversee this process, hire teachers, select curricula, and enroll students? The time commitment would be huge; these busy moms had already given numerous hours. Jane and Nikki agreed to be the nucleus of a board of trustees, and so the decision was made to press on.
With many thanks to the former steering committee members, the two trustees (along with a kind and knowledgeable attorney) whizzed through the process of incorporation. Applying for nonprofit status was daunting. Fortunately, Jane and Nikki were joined by Tom Bojanski, who knew how to navigate IRS forms. Encouraged by the example of Nikki’s husband, Rick Adams decided that he, too, would offer his support; and so, the trustees of Deerstream Learning Center became four strong. With the added help of Debbie Cusick, teachers were hired and curriculum specifics hammered out. It was an exciting time of diligent prayer and delight in God’s leading.
Sure enough, Grace Church in Chapel Hill opened its doors to Deerstream students in September 1998. Fourteen kindergarteners and first graders were taught by two pioneering teachers; one of these teachers, Mrs. Lilianne Smith, stayed with Deerstream for 16 years. Friendships were formed and life enlarged, as students and educators came together twice weekly to learn and marvel at the workings of God’s world.