The Latest: Student ruled eligible for US poetry contest

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

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.