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When Ari Rothman sat at his own high school graduation, he was sure that the next four years of his life would serve as a springboard to a writing career. That his 18 years of life could seamlessly be fashioned into riveting tales which would move his readers toward a greater understanding of the human condition. Once he arrived at Lake Forest College in Illinois that fall, however, Rothman found that this particular human—he himself—was not yet conditioned to have truly learned anything. “I faced the realization that the greatest work of fiction I could ever produce was my own omniscience,” Rothman said to the 315-member New Canaan High School class of 2019, gathered at Dunning Field on Wednesday afternoon as its keynote speaker. “I learned all too quickly that a skillfully wielded shovel was the most useless of tools.