by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photo by Dawn at Nicoli Productions

A Natural-Born Leader

student_vongsachang2Hurlink Vongsachang (currently age 16) had a monumental eighth grade school year. While he was skilled in playing five musical instruments – the Chinese hammered dulcimer, the Chinese flute, the Chinese trumpet, the saxophone, and the cello – Hurlink joined the Civic Youth Orchestra in the Symphony division. “We play pieces from artists like Tchaikovsky and Beethoven,” he shared. It was during this same year that he created the San Diego Chinese Youth Music Ensemble. “It is made up of students who play traditional Chinese music from all around San Diego, to promote and spread the Chinese culture and the Asian community,” explained Hurlink, who at a young age was encouraged by his father to learn everything about Chinese culture. As if his year wasn’t busy enough, Hurlink also took up hip hop dancing and later joined the San Marcos All Male Dance Team. “I didn’t like it at first,” he said about learning the dance style, “but I came to realize how fun dancing could be, especially with people who I could relate to!”

But perhaps one of Hurlink’s biggest achievements during eighth grade was taking on the role of co-president and teacher for the San Marcos Youth Orchestra (SMYO), a nonprofit community service-based organization operated by high school students. “SMYO is committed to offering a musical educational outreach program that nurtures the lifelong appreciation and enthusiasm for music,” noted Hurlink. “Our mission is to teach the violin and cello to children all around the school district, to enrich children with music, and to spread the love for music all around San Marcos.”


Name: Hurlink Vongsachang (16)
School: San Marcos High School
Grade: Senior (Class of 2016)
Parents: Houa Vongsachang and Xiaoli Fang
Siblings: Hurnan Vongsachang (23), Hursuong Vongsachang (21)
Favorite Place in 92078: San Elijo Hills


student_vongsachang4SMYO was started in 2007 by Hurlink’s two older sisters and cousins. “Moving from Arizona, my sisters and cousins found that there was no orchestra program here in San Marcos schools, and so they decided to create and found their own orchestra,” explained Hurlink. Since that time, Hurlink has made it his mission to continue what his family had started; now, in addition to SMYO’s concerts, the organization gives back to the community by performing at city-wide events, retirement homes, and children’s hospitals. “SMYO is a very valuable organization,” noted Hurlink, whose main responsibilities as co-president include enforcing policies, sending informational emails, finding new pieces of music for the orchestra to play, and planning future concerts. “All of this is a lot of work, but I think the most invaluable things that I get out of being co-president are being able to learn how to lead at an early age and getting to help the youth like me on a city-wide level.”

When asked who inspires him, Hurlink replied, “My sisters and the youth of San Marcos inspire me to lead SMYO because I believe I can contribute to and better the lives of the youth with the knowledge that I have.”

student_vongsachang3