Typically, middle-schoolers aren't mapping out their career path -- unless you're Teanna Goodman.

As a seventh-grader, Goodman had firmly decided on a military career, and she hasn't swayed from the idea one bit.

Currently in her senior year at Freedom High School in Oakley, Goodman will be joining the Navy after graduation this summer. She said she chose the Navy because she feels it's the right fit, but she has "respect for every single branch."

"I was way beyond my years, and already thinking of how I could make my family proud and impact this world in a positive way," she said. "I always wanted to be a role model ever since."

To kick start her future path, she joined the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps that year and was sent to a boot camp in Chicago.

At 14, she had "no clue about the journey, but I fell in love."

And, so it seems fitting that she shared that love via the city of Oakley's recent Military Hero contest.

With no intentions of winning, Goodman penned the essay for the "chance to write about something I feel so dearly about. It was strictly out of respect."

But, win she did. The Oakley resident scored first-place bragging rights, along with $50 and a certificate.

Said Mike Wood, Freedom's vice principal: "Needless to say, we love having young men and women on our campus who see the value of serving their country in the Armed Forces. It is a testimony to their understanding of and their appreciation of the freedoms our democracy affords us."

MEDAL WINNERS: It's not an Olympics year, but Orchard Park doled out hundreds of medals nonetheless.

During the Antioch school's recent academic achievement assembly, 143 gold medals, 154 silver and 43 bronze were proudly awarded to students who showed improvement on their previous year's STAR test scores.

Principal Didi Del Chiaro led the way for the big event.

"I felt so proud to honor our students in this manner," she said. "Their hard work, combined with the efforts of our staff, was represented in a terrific showing. These medals represent major accomplishments for many of our students.

Del Chiaro said the room was filled with pride -- and loads of family to cheer on the students. It was standing room only for all three assemblies.

Also on hand to celebrate were Superintendent Don Gill, school board member Diane Gibson-Gray and Mike Santos, the district's director of improvement.

DANCE FEVER: Antioch High's dance troupe will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in Beede Auditorium, 700 W. 18th St.

Led by teacher Pam Peterson, the Winter Dance show features jazz dancers from all grades. Special guests include Dance Extreme, Oakland's Culture Shock, and the Antioch High School Cheerleaders. Tickets are $5, with proceeds benefiting the school dance program.

For more information, call 925-779-7550.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. Note: Trine also does community outreach for Antioch High.