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Eagles Fly through Bells Mill

Philadelphia Eagles Book Mobile stops in Potomac en route to Super Bowl in Jacksonville.

Sam and Nancy Jones couldn’t find their son. The Joneses drove from Potomac to Philadelphia to visit their son Dhani, a starting linebacker for the Super Bowl-bound Philadelphia Eagles, during a practice early last week. Dhani wasn’t on the field, and his parents tracked him down inside an adjacent building, where Dhani was writing a diary entry for his Web site.

Writing and reading have always been important to Dhani Jones, a graduate of Bells Mill Elementary, Cabin John Middle School and Winston Churchill High School.

NO HOSTILITY GREETED the Philadelphia Eagles van when it rolled up to Bells Mill Elementary School last Wednesday, Jan. 26. In the midst of Washington Redskins country, Bells Mill second-graders decorated their classrooms with Eagles signs and balloons in the team’s green-and-white. Bells Mill second-grader Niko Jenkins, wore a replica jersey of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Bells Mill students viewed a videotaped message from Dhani Jones. “I used to attend the fine institution of Bells Mill Elementary School,” Jones said. “I would encourage you kids to pick up a book.”

The Eagles Book Mobile usually cruises between schools in Philadelphia, but last Wednesday it was on the second day of a two-week, 1,600-mile road trip to Jacksonville, Fla., site of this year’s Super Bowl. The Book Mobile will stop at hometowns and elementary schools of Eagles players to promote the love of reading.

“Dhani loved school, and he loved reading,” said Nancy Jones, who brought one of Dhani’s first books, which was difficult for him to read because it was written in Japanese. He later loved Winnie-the-Pooh books, and midway through elementary school, Dhani was writing his own books. Nancy Jones brought one of them, “The Mystery of the Missing Gang,” a book Dhani wrote and illustrated during his elementary school years about a kidnapped gang of dogs.

Eagles Storybook Man read “How I Became a Pirate” and a Shel Silverstein poem to each class, and left books for each student to take home.

After Bells Mill, the Book Mobile was bound for Strawberry Knoll Elementary School in Gaithersburg, former school of Eagles center Hank Fraley.