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Dawson County alumnus graduates from Ivy League university
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DCHS alumnus and Brown University men’s soccer forward Dennis Pyetsukh graduated from the Ivy League institution at the end of May 2022. Photo submitted to DCN.

Four years after being the first athlete in Dawson County High School history to be accepted to an Ivy League school, Dennis Pyetsukh recently graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Now, he’s got his sights set on law school. 

Pyetsukh and his family moved to Dawsonville when he was four years old. He subsequently attended county public school all the way up through his time at DCHS.  

At three years old, Pyetsukh started playing on Parks and Recreation soccer teams, and he began playing travel soccer at eight, according to a 2018 DCN article. Among other early athletic accomplishments, he’s competed in the Disney Cup International soccer competition against players from over 20 other countries and won accolades as a national tournament and league champion. 

Pyetsukh was recruited by Brown to play soccer during his junior year of high school, and he began attending the university and playing in Fall 2018. Academically, he chose to study business economics and finance. 

Just like at DCHS, he played as a forward for all three seasons of his time with the university’s men’s soccer team (one season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic). 

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Dennis Pyetsukh, center right, looks to control the soccer ball before University of Pennsylvania player Isaac McGinnis can. Photo submitted to DCN.

As an athlete, some of Pyetsukh’s favorite memories have been scoring against Niagara University’s team during a Brown home game, with local fans cheering on the Brown Bears. 

Pyetsukh said all Ivy League-level soccer was generally competitive, but it was especially worth it to travel to Columbia University last fall and trounce the Columbia Lions. 

“Going to Columbia and beating them hadn't been done in a number of years,” Pyetsukh said. “So there was a lot of celebration in the locker room and on the bus ride home.” 

Academics

Pyetsukh recommended meeting one’s college professors during office hours and learning from their experiences, like he did, to help with professional growth. 

He named a few key professors who served as mentors for him. Manuel Lancastre, a distinguished lecturer with experience at workplaces like global management firm McKinsey & Company, helped Pyetsukh generally find success and determine what to pursue after graduation. 

Another professor, Alex Poterack, taught multiple of Pyetsukh’s introductory economics courses and helped inspire him to dive into the study of economics. 

“He motivated me to take classes where economics isn’t [at face value] a part of, like classes on education, environment or labor,” Pyetsukh said. “Those are all important to getting a fuller understanding of how everything works and blends together.” 

Pyetsukh’s ultimate goal is to become a corporate lawyer. To that end, he’s put in a lot of hours interning at law firms as a legal assistant, studying for the LSAT and completing numerous applications and essays. 

Now, he’s waiting to hear back from multiple law school applications, so he can hopefully start his next chapter of schooling in the fall. 

Meanwhile, Pyetsukh is looking forward to using his knowledge about economics, investing and corporate finance in an upcoming summer internship. 

He elaborated that his daily routine has made perhaps the biggest difference in his success during college. 

Like other freshmen, Pyetsukh said that the effort and diligence required to earn A’s on school assignments initially came as a “bit of a shock” to him, but he was able to adjust relatively quickly and get on the right track.  

That meant waking up early enough for 7 a.m. soccer training and being in the locker room by 6:15 a.m. He made it a habit to go straight from practice to classes to the library, even if work wasn’t immediately due, in order to get the most out of his days. 

“Getting an early start in the day and making most of my time was where I found most of my success,” Pyetsukh said. 

He suggested that for those entering college as athletes, it’s key to find a healthy balance of time spent between sports and school and to not “sacrifice one for the other.”

“It (balance) is definitely attainable as long as you want to attain it,” Pyetsukh said. 

“I’m always looking to strive for the highest that I can achieve,” he added. “Law school is attainable for me, and I could see myself enjoying the work.”