Decades before RNC speech, Pence competed on Columbus HS speech team

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — People who grew up with Gov. Mike Pence say he started preparing for his Republican National Convention speech decades before Donald Trump ever picked him as a running mate.

Pence honed his public speaking skills as a star on his high school speech team. David Peach was his teammate and friend.

“We had probably the best speech team ever at Columbus North High School,” Peach said. “He brought everybody up. We all looked at him as our leader and we knew that he was going to do big things.”

Pence took first place in a statewide competition his senior year. He placed third later that year in a national competition.

39 years later, Pence finds himself in another contest.

“When you saw Mike, you knew it was possible,” Peach said of political rise. “It does make you pause and really reflect on what he has accomplished.”

Peach expects Pence’s RNC speech to be heavily scrutinized.

Before the speech, he said Pence’s goal should be to stand out, but not stand out for the wrong reasons.

“I hope that he will talk about Hoosier values and how those can help this country,” Peach said. “I look forward to seeing how he responds to this moment.”

Peach said he last talked with Pence about a year and a half ago at an event in Crawfordsville.

He said the old speech team plans on watching the RNC Wednesday night.

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