So, the trip to the stores may have yielded some definite results. All of the tetra species I mentioned favoring were found at my local petsmart, so the first school is definitely possible. I would just have to decide which species would best fit the tank.

As for a centerpiece fish, most of the small colorfuls were either nonexistent, or just meh. I did see a few dwarf gourami I liked, but the research I've done has all stated that they love plants. I wasn't actually plannign on having real plants in the aquarium, as I figured that would make thigns uch more complicated. Any suggestions on this area?

I also saw two great deals on tanks.(I think...)
Petsmart had a AQEON 25 G with a stand and hood for 154.99. The stand seemed pretty decent quality, and didn't appear to be cheap junky particle board. But I'm not a wood expert by any means.

Wet Pets had a 10 G "Starter Kit" which included the tank, a decent stand, heater, filter, and day/night light combo. I believe the company was "MarineBlue" and this was 129.99. 10G was smaller than I was planning, but this sounds like an awesome deal to me. Any thoughts on the tanks as well?