Prom. The dresses, the pictures, the rite of passage. The potential to make a bad choice.
"Everybody knows it's dangerous but I don't think they realize how dangerous it actually can be and the consequences that could happen," says Marena Cruz, who graduated from Holt High School in 2011.
Cruz is referring to drinking and driving. Her friend Holly Bossenbery was killed in an alcohol-related accident in 2011, along with Taylyr Cochran and Anthony Harris, prompting Cruz to start a program called Holly's Ride.
"We know that we can't stop everybody from drinking, but if we can make them safe while they're doing it, that would be the number one goal," Cruz says of the program.
"People are listening to us and making smarter decisions and definitely not getting behind the wheel after they've been drinking," echoes Shane Chandler, a junior at Holt High School who is involved in Holly's Ride.
According to the most recent Michigan Profile for Health Youth Survey from 2010, most teens don't use alcohol. But many do: about 21 percent of teens in Ingham County, 27 percent in Eaton County and 22 percent in Clinton County.
This time of year, more teens might.
"Kids can sometimes make poor choices after a prom and engage in some activities that aren't quite appropriate," says Tom Hunt, director of athletics and activities at East Lansing High School.
To curb that type of behavior, local high schools like Holt, Okemos and East Lansing offer activities after prom.
"We have those blow up games, there is a lot of food, there are a lot of prizes," Hunt says of the school's post-prom party, which is organized by parents.
East Lansing has held a post-prom party for the past 15 years.
"We do have a wonderful participation rate," Hunt says. "I think probably 90 to 95 percent of our kids that go to prom come back to post-prom. So it's a very good event."
But there are teens who choose to drink and parents who think, if that's what they're going to do, I'd rather have them do it under our own roof. That, however, is illegal and there are consequences.
Aaron Matthews is a partner at Clark Hill Law Firm. He says a parent who hosts a party where kids are drinking will pay for it.
"Under Michigan law, an adult over the age of 21 that furnishes alcohol to someone under the age of 21 faces both criminal and civil liability," Matthews explains.
Furnishing can mean a lot of things, from handing a drink to someone underage, to giving someone underage access to alcohol in the house.
"If there's a bar or a refrigerator in the basement that has alcohol in it, allowing the minors to congregate in that area and giving them access to that-- or allowing them access to that alcohol can be interpreted as furnishing," says Matthews.
And for a teen who gets caught drinking, fines or jail time is just the beginning.
"That lacrosse scholarship that they thought they had or the letter of acceptance from MSU or the University of Michigan, that's jeopardized as well," Matthews points out.
Something to keep in mind as students across mid-Michigan head into prom season, and their peers have a message for them.
"You can have fun without drinking," Cruz says. "If you choose to drink, be smart about it. Have a designated driver, have a key master."
State Police also team up with local law enforcement for its Safe Prom Initiative, where officers speak to students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.