PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on the Maine high school student who fled his native Zambia and sued to be allowed to participate in a U.S. poetry contest (all times local):

8 p.m.

The National Endowment for the Arts says it looks forward to welcoming an upcoming poetry contest's 53 finalists, including a high school student who fled his native Zambia for Maine and won a legal fight to compete.

The NEA says a federal judge on Friday granted the motion of an asylum seeker to compete in its Poetry Out Loud national finals. It says the 53 finalists will represent their respective states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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Allan Monga is a junior at Deering High School in Portland. He initially wasn't allowed to compete nationally because he hasn't been granted legal asylum. He and the Portland school district sued the NEA.

NEA lawyers cited a rule requiring competitors to be U.S. citizens or valid permanent residents.

The contest is next week in Washington.

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5:30 p.m.

A superintendent in Maine is cheering a judge's decision to allow a high school student who fled his native Zambia to compete in a government-funded U.S. poetry contest.

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana said the school community is "ecstatic" that 19-year-old Allan Monga will be able to share his talents with the world in next week's finals in Washington, D.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts had rejected Monga's participation on the grounds that he doesn't meet their rules requiring competitors to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Monga hasn't yet been granted legal asylum.

Federal Judge John Woodcock said the core issue is whether Monga is being denied public education based on a characteristic beyond his control.

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4:40 p.m.

A judge has ruled a high school student in Maine who fled his native Zambia can compete in a government-funded national poetry contest.

Judge John Woodcock disagreed with the National Endowment for the Arts' rejection on the grounds that he doesn't meet U.S. citizenship rules.

The ruling was made Friday.

Allan Monga is a junior at Deering High School. He won Maine's "Poetry Out Loud" contest but initially wasn't allowed to compete nationally because he hasn't yet been granted legal asylum. He and the Portland school district sued the NEA to let him participate.

NEA lawyers cited a contest rule requiring competitors at state and national finals to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a valid tax identification or Social Security number, which are needed to receive prizes.

The finals start Monday in Washington.

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9:45 a.m.

A federal judge is expected to rule whether a high school student who fled his native Zambia can compete in a government-funded United States poetry contest.

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School, won Maine's "Poetry Out Loud" contest. The National Endowment for the Arts is not allowing him to compete nationally next week because he hasn't yet been granted legal asylum. He and the Portland school district sued the NEA to let him participate.

A ruling is expected Friday.

NEA lawyers cite a contest rule requiring competitors at state and national finals to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a valid tax identification or Social Security number, which are needed to receive prizes.