Born in 1952 in Cobham, Virginia, Darlene Quarles (Robinson) attended county schools in a segregated setting. As a Black child, she was bussed to Rose Hill Elementary School in Charlottesville through sixth grade, passing the local white school on the way. When schools integrated, she attended Stone Robinson Elementary and then Jack Jouett Junior High School before going to Albemarle High School in the 10th grade. About Albemarle, she said: “It was a big school. To me, it was a big school. A lot more white people. As I said, I was on the college track, so I was, with the exception of the Black history class, most of the classes I might have been one of two, maybe one of three Black people in the class.” A very serious student, she reflected that “school was my social activity.” She was one of the first two Black cheerleaders at Albemarle, having good memories of that experience. In addition, she participated in school activities as a member of Yearbook staff, president of library club, and secretary/treasurer of the senior class. Darlene attended Virginia Tech for college, where she was on the Drill Team and performed at football games during halftime. A double major in both Spanish and history, she built her professional career as a high school teacher of Spanish, retiring from the Fairfax County school system in 2009.