NEWTON - Amanda Ingram, a fifth-grader at Merriam Ave. School, loves her community, and with some crayons and construction paper, she found a way to express her feelings. Amanda won first place and a blue ribbon during the first annual Spring Street Merchants Poster Contest for her age group in fifth and sixth grades, and her poster, which includes a farm and a swing set, is simply an observation of some of the things she likes about life in and around Newton. “I like seeing the farms when my mom drives around,” she said. Amanda and the other first place winners, Erin Jackson, for grades K-4 and Shelby Blavis, for grades 7 & 8, were awarded a plaque and a $50 U.S. Saving Bond for the their winning artwork at The Craft Creators on Spring Street Friday, Oct. 7, which helped sponsor the Why I Love Newton poster contest. Spring Street is rebounding and during the last decade shops have moved back to this once vibrant shopping district. Only three storefronts sit empty, and Don Meng, owner of the craft shop, said the poster contest helps generate interest in the community for children and for the Spring Street merchants. “They are growing up and entering contests,” said Meng, “that’s a wonderful thing.” More than 260 kids entered their work in the contest, and awards for first, second and third places in their age groups were given to the winners. Erin Jackson drew a picture of house she likes in the community. “I wanted to show people why I like Newton,” she said. At first glance, Shelby Blavis’ work looks like a Jersey calf in a bed of straw, but she intended to draw a deer and apologized for the confusion. “I don’t know how to draw,” she said sheepishly. “I just love wildlife.” Shelby’s love for animals, despite her imperfect drawing ability, still garnered a first-place ribbon and the savings bond because of her effort, and her work and that created by the other winners will be on display in the lobby of a computer server company on 172 Spring Street.