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Come commencement time, every graduate will have a degree in hand, but only a small few will have a cap on their heads that has saved lives.

After interning with Feeding Children Everywhere last summer, former student body president Melissa Westbrook wanted to take on a project that she could pursue on her own even after leaving the social charity. She landed on decorating caps for soon-to-be-graduates.

For $10, and the cost of supplies, Westbrook and her team at Caps for a Cause will design and create a custom cap for those gearing up to cross the stage at UCF. And all of it goes straight to Feeding Children Everywhere, where one quarter feeds a child.

"... If Melissa charges someone $10 for their cap, they're getting a wicked cool cap, and they've fed 40 people," said Jarrod Fucci, vice president of Development for Feeding Children Everywhere.

To date, Fucci, a UCF alumnus, said the young organization — it's only 4.5 years old — has packaged more than 25 million meals with more than 155,000 volunteers worldwide.

Last semester, Westbrook churned out 12 caps for UCF Knights, and this semester she's already been flooded with orders from about 16 students. Some of her favorites so far have been those themed around Harry Potter, Up and one she even made for a member of UCF's Track & Field team. Although she's not currently taking any more orders, she's happy to help people come up with ideas through the Caps for a Cause Instagram.

When Westbrook graduated, her own cap donned her favorite Bible verse, "The meek shall inherit." Currently pursuing her master's in nonprofit management, as well as public administration, she's already thinking up ideas for her next cap.

"It's really cool and it's really important because, at graduation, everyone's in a black robe and a black hat," she said.

" … I don't know your story when I look at you … but the back of your hat, it's the loudest you can be while being silent at graduation."

Westbrook's top 5 supplies for decorating caps:

1. Scrapbook paper — because it's firm, not flimsy

2. Velcro. Don't super glue or hot glue items to your cap.

3. A clear thumbtack to reattach your tassel on top of the decorations. This way you can still turn it at the end of the ceremony.

4. Scrapbooking 3-D stickers.

5. Letters. Lots and lots of letters.

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Caroline Glenn is the News Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at@byCarolineGlennor email her at CarolineG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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