Way to go: Amaan Rahman, Jericho

Amaan Rahman, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School Amaan Rahman, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School in Jericho, was one of 12 winners nationwide this fall in a contest sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education requiring students in grades K-5 to create artwork on the theme "What Math Means to Me." (December 2011) Photo Credit: Handout

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For Amaan Rahman, art plus math equals one big national prize.

Rahman, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School in Jericho, was one of 12 winners nationwide this fall in a contest sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education requiring students in grades K-5 to create artwork on the theme "What Math Means to Me."

Amaan's illustration featured a series of three-dimensional numbers positioned increasingly higher on a yellow staircase that continues into infinity. He beat out roughly 2,400 entries.

"I was so surprised, because I've never been in a contest and never won," said Amaan, 10, who said he was inspired by a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon that featured a "golden escalator."

For winning, he earned the school $15,000 in supplies, ranging from math and science textbooks to a Smart Board. His artwork will be featured on the cover of McGraw-Hill's next elementary math book and be displayed at the Museum of Mathematics when it opens next year in Manhattan.

"Amaan is very, very gifted," said art teacher Susan Menkes, who called his art "advanced."

Jackson third-grader Emily Jiang was also among the contest's 72 finalists, making Jackson the only school nationwide to have multiple finalists.

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